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  1. #1
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    AP, Alaska: Orange Goo Mystifies Locals

    Sudden appearance of orange goo mystifies remote Inupiat Eskimo village in northwest Alaska - The Washington Post

    By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, August 6, 3:28 PM


    ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Leona Baldwin’s husband saw it first, and she got on the marine radio to alert others in the remote Alaska village of Kivalina that a strange orange goo was sitting on top of the town’s harbor.
    The news attracted all the townspeople, anxious to get a gander of the phenomenon that covered much of the harbor and then began washing ashore Wednesday.


    The next day it rained, and residents found the orange matter floating on top of the rain buckets they use to collect drinking water. It was also found on one roof, leading them to believe whatever it was, it was airborne, too.
    By Friday, the orange substance in the lagoon had dissipated or washed out to sea, and what was left on ground had dried to a powdery substance.
    Samples of the orange matter were collected in canning jars and sent to a lab in Anchorage for analysis.
    Until results are known, Kivalina’s 374 residents will likely continue to wonder just what exactly happened in their village.


    “Certainly at this point it’s a mystery,” said Emanuel Hignutt, a chemist with the state Department of Environmental Conservation lab in Anchorage.


    Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo village, is located at the tip of an 8-mile barrier reef on Alaska’s northwest coast, and is located between the Chukchi Sea and Kivalina River to the north and the Wulik River to the south.
    Villagers have never seen anything like this before, and elders have never heard any stories passed down from earlier generations about an orange-colored substance coming into town.


    “This is the first for Kivalina, as far as I know,” said 63-year-old Austin Swan, a city council member.


    Portions of the samples will also be sent to the University of Alaska Fairbanks and to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in South Carolina for testing.

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    There's got to be a Palin crack in there somewhere...

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    No follow up on the goo story?

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    ^ Mystery Orange Goo Invades Alaska Village : Discovery News


    A mysterious orange substance, shown above, washed ashore along the Arctic coast of Kivalina, Alaska, and inundated the small Inupiat Eskimo village last week. In areas where the sun dried the material, winds scattered it as a thin orange dust, giving the first impression that it was a type of pollen. Found several miles inland in the fresh water Wulik River, the orange material turned gooey and gave off a gaseous odor. But scooped out of the ocean, the substance had no odor and "was light to the touch, with the feel of baby oil," relayed Janet Mitchell, City Administrator for Kivalina, to Discovery News.



    After the high tide washed the orange material away, the town learned that it might have also been toxic, as several small minnows died during the event. Whether it is indeed toxic, or perhaps had an affect on the oxygen content in the water is, as of yet, undetermined. But the town has no history of pollen events and algae experts ruled out the material as a harmful algal bloom.

    So what is it? Samples of the substance were sent to the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s Auke Bay Laboratories in Juneau for identification. As seen under the microscope, the bead-like shape and cellular structure gives the clue that the mystery orange material is in fact a spawn of little eggs. But the marine biologists ruled out the dead minnows as the moms. “We have determined these are small invertebrate eggs, although we cannot tell which species,” said Jeep Rice, a lead NOAA scientist at the Juneau lab in a press release. “We now think these are some sort of small crustacean egg or embryo, with a lipid oil droplet in the middle causing the orange color,” he added.

    Kivalina Village and the NOAA lab in Juneau are now waiting to hear back from another lab in South Carolina that specializes in phytoplankton blooms to learn the identity of the parents of this egg invasion. "We are sitting on the edge of our seats wanting to know," said Julie Speegle a spokesperson for the Juneau lab.
    Crabs.

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    You'd think there'd be a swarm by now. Good spot.

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    Update Aug 20 2011

    Updated here . Note how the last line contradicts the entire article that it is a known substance.

    Mysterious Orange Goo in Alaska Tiny Eggs of Unknown Species - International Business Times

    The mysterious orange colored goo that washed upon the shores of an Alaskan village last week has been identified. Denying rumors that suggested that the orange stuff was a form of alien life, Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) lab said on Monday that it was a mass of microscopic eggs filled with fatty droplets, most likely to be of a small crustacean.

    Microscopic crustacean eggs which washed up on an Alaskan shore are shown in this undated handout photo from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to Reuters August 8, 2011. The eggs washed up onshore in the Alaskan village of Kivalina on the state's northwest coast. REUTERS/Auke Bay Laboratories/NOAA/Handout

    The emergence of the substance on the shores of Kivalina in northwest Alaska shocked residents on Wednesday. According to Julie Speegle, representative of the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Auke Bay Laboratories, further testing of the substance will help to determine whether the eggs are toxic.




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    "We now think these are some sort of small crustacean egg or embryo, with a lipid oil droplet in the middle causing the orange color," Jeep Rice, a lead NOAA scientist at the Juneau lab, said in a release.
    "So this is natural. It is not chemical pollution; it is not a man-made substance," Rice added.
    Scientists believe that the substance is some kind of crustacean eggs; however, they are not sure enough about the species. They also don't know whether the substance is poisonous. This is what makes the residents of Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo community, worried.


    "Certain organisms can produce toxins, and you can't tell if that's the case (here) until you know what species it is," said Emanuel Hignutt, analytical chemistry manager for the state Environmental Health Laboratory.


    "It was easy to see cellular structure surrounding the lipid droplet, and to identify this as 'animal'," said Rice. "We have determined these are small invertebrate eggs, although we cannot tell which species."
    According to Janet Mitchell, Kivalina city administrator, the substance may have rained down on the village Wednesday evening as it was found in buckets used by some residents to collect rainwater that night.


    The samples of the mysterious substance have sent to the Institute for Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks on Monday.

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