Visitors to the beach along the East Coast Road in Chennai were left surprised after they witnessed an unusual sight on the evening of Sunday, August 18 - waves in the beach were sparkling with a blue glow. The very sight of blue waves in the Chennai beach left onlookers in awe, with many capturing it on their cameras. Soon the internet was swarmed with videos and pictures of the bluish glow of waves.
Witnessed beautiful sparkling bluish waves in Palavakkam last night, it was magical and even more awesome in person! ❤️ (Apparently due to high concentration of micro planktons in the sea.) #bioluminescence pic.twitter.com/O4GdNgIMBZ— Vijayaraj (@mister_vj) August 19, 2019
The blue glow was caused by bioluminescence or blue sea sparkles which are a rare sight in Chennai.
According to marine experts, the blue glow in water is known as bioluminescence. The phenomenon is caused by Noctiluca scintillans algae, a type of phytoplankton that converts their chemical energy into light energy when washed ashore. It is commonly known as sea tinkle.
Blue waves were seen at the Thiruvanmiyur, Injambakkam, Besant Nagar's Eliot's Beach and Palavakkam beaches.
Here are some pictures and videos posted by visitors of the blue waves in the Chennai beach on their social media. Some used #ChennaiSeaSparkle to post the pictures and videos on Twitter.
When I was moving to this beautiful city 4 years ago, the only promise I made to myself was that I would always live by the beach.— MadMax (@TapiocaChip) August 18, 2019
Tonight was the best validation I could have received for this choice ❤️ pic.twitter.com/S4H1PDxqvZ
Whaaaaat a nightCaught the #ChennaiSeaSparkle off ECR for over an hour & it was a SPECTACULAR SIGHT Brilliant Neon Blue display of glowing bioluminescent #plankton / #algae bloom lit up the crashing waves of several beaches in #Chennai tonight#GlobalWarming !?! #SeaSparkle pic.twitter.com/jES19GAWHL— T R B Rajaa (@TRBRajaa) August 18, 2019
Bioluminescence is the emission of light by marine organisms and is considered as an indicator of climate change. It occurs when phytoplanktons (microscopic marine plants), commonly known as dinoflagellates, produce light through chemical reactions in proteins. It is however, not good news for the marine health. Ecologists and marine researchers warn it could disrupt the long term health of an ecosystem.
While my TL is going bonkers over bioluminescence Noctiluca spotted in the Bay of Bengal near Chennai last night, it’s important to remember that this is a sign of a possibly unhealthy ocean. 1/n— PK (@Poojixx) August 19, 2019
These blooms have also been linked to massive fish kill, due to the ammonia released. They have also been implicated in the decline of fisheries in some places! I’ll be ok the lookout for fishkill reported by Chennai’s fishers in the aftermath 3/n— PK (@Poojixx) August 19, 2019
While many who got a glimpse of this rare incident have been left impressed and many have described the sight as beautiful, ecologists and marine researchers are warning that this may be a negative sign.
Scientists are conducting a study to find the reason behind the phenomenon.