Alaska’s ‘Orange Goo’ Answer: Eggs

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Auke Bay Laboratories / NOAA Handout / Reuters

These aren’t the kind of eggs you want to scramble or serve sunny side up, that much officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration know. Learning more? That’s still the focus of the investigation into orange goo that gunked up the shores of Kivalina, a remote Alaskan village.

At first, nobody knew quite just what the brightly colored slimy goo was appearing in the water of a tiny town on the tip of a reef on the northwest coast. Now, NOAA officials say the substance is likely millions of microscopic eggs filled with fatty droplets. But don’t think that explanation answers all your questions, as there still isn’t any word on where the eggs came from or if they are harmful to the local marine life or the area’s drinking water.

While experts’ best guesses say the eggs likely are crustacean eggs or embryos, that isn’t yet a fact until a NOAA laboratory in South Carolina can come back with some answers. That is, unless the Institute for Marine Science at the University of Alaska Fairbanks beats them to the answer.

(MORE: Mysterious Orange Goo Washes Up on Alaska Shore)

But none of that really helps the 374 residents of the Insupiat Eskimo community a bit worried that the local drinking water source might be filled with these eggs (the Wulik River and a lagoon turned color and orange water was reported up to 150 miles from Kivalina), even though the goo has dissipated within the last week. Also, what is the lasting effect on other wildlife, since the sliminess turned into airborne powder when it dried?

Julie Speegle, NOAA spokeswoman tells the Associated Press they’ll likely never have an answer on what caused the phenomenon. Hopefully they can at least figure out what it was.

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Tim Newcomb is a contributor for TIME. Find him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

2 comments
lawrencekelleyiii
lawrencekelleyiii

Its Eric Raymond Shinseki, and he doesn't like to be called by his middle name. That was swipe by Klein.


Obama is not going to admit to another catastrophic leadership failure, among all the others that hang on him like slime.

The entire political tradition of appointing former high-ranking DoD officers/generals to run the VA has proven itself to be outdated.

Not a single VA Secretary in the past 20 years has been able to "reform" the VA due to these SES and other management executives who are in fact anti-veteran, as seen in their numerous past acts of dishonesty, corruption and gross incompetence where veterans and their families were harmed.


The only way now for the VA to be forced to reform is to pass a special whistleblower protection law just for VA employees and staff, so they don't live under fear of retaliation of losing their jobs for coming out and speaking the truth against VA culture of corruption and dishonesty. Once a law like that is passed, the VA staffers will come out of the VA woodwork to blow the whistle on all matter of neglect, gross incompetence, malpractice and outright abuse that has harmed thousands of veterans. Drs. Foote and Mitchell at the Phoenix VAMC have both said that it is the fear of losing their jobs that prevents them from speaking out. Foote had to wait until AFTER he retired to speak out. Mitchell got fired once already and rehired due to VA's longstanding practice of firing employees who complained or came out and told the truth. Truth about wrongdoing should always be encouraged. But the "No Fear Act" does nothing to eliminate this real fear of retaliation.

isaachj
isaachj

You mean Eric Shinseki?