An unidentified orange substance is washing up on the shores of an isolated village in northwestern Alaska, and the only thing that investigators can say for sure is that it is not manmade.
Kivalina, a whaling community of about 425 people located in the Northwest Arctic Borough region, has reportedly experienced a rust-colored growth in its water: both in a local lagoon and, according to the Associated Press, even in some resident’s rain buckets. What exactly the substance is, no one can yet say, but Anchorage-based NBC affiliate KTUU reported that the Coast Guard is conducting tests to uncover its origin.
“It is not man made, it is not a petroleum substance,” Petty Officer David Mosley told KTUU.
Another local theory is that the mysterious growth is a product of a nearby zinc mine, but that has yet to be substantiated. The Red Dog mine is located 46 miles upstream of Kivalina, but a spokesman disavowed any obvious connection between his operation and the orange substance.
“We’re not aware of any aspect of our operation that could be responsible,” Wayne Hall, the mine’s manager of community and public relations, told KTUU.
One resident took photos for the AP of the substance covering much of the harbor and some local beaches, but reported that there was no discernible smell from the goo.
Kivalina is a small community with only 106 structures — 86 of which are housing units, according to the city’s website.
With minimal infrastructure, the website says that the “only form of entertainment for the adult age people is bingo and evening gym nights for the athletic ones.” Looks like this is at least one thing to amuse the town’s residents.
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