The freaky frothy foam created along the coast is said to be caused by algae in the water being churned up by the waves (a phenomenon seen in various seas around the world). A local council spokesperson claimed the foam was 'a natural occurrence caused by wind and wave action breaking down the cells of brown algae of the Genus Phaeocystis [pictured below]. These algal cells contain alginate – a substance that is used to make beer foamier and ice-cream creamier.'
Beer and ice cream. Sounds fun. Unfortunately some scientists aren't so sure about the benign nature of the foam. Researchers at USC (the charmingly-named University of the Sunshine Coast) believe impurities generated by sewage and run-off such as motor oils (like that dumped by passing ships) are bonding into molecules, making it sticky, smelly and dark-colored. RM
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