You Won’t Believe What This Shadow in The Ocean Is

Beachgoers in La Jolla, California took in a disturbing sight as they gazed out onto the ocean on July 8th, 2014. A dark, undulating shadow was making its way toward the sand, creating massive blotches in the otherwise crystalline blue-green waters. They feared it was an oil spill, which would take a harsh toll on the local ecosystem and economy. But when experts were called in, they found that the cause was something they never would have guessed.(via: likes)

As ominous as those dark shadows may have looked, their cause was altogether natural and innocent: an enormous aggregation of tiny fish.1

Anchovies, to be exact. This incident was unusual not just for its sheer size, but because anchovies typically keep their distance from the shore. 2

Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography took photos and video of the phenomenon, noting that it’s “unclear why the unusually large school moved into shallow waters off the coast.” 3

The size of the school is estimated to be anywhere between 1 million and 100 million. 4

It’s possible that changing ocean temperatures caused the anchovy influx along the shore. Whatever the cause, the phenomenon certainly made anchovy-loving California sea lions happy. 5


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