Spectacular ‘Blue Tear’ Phenomenon Lights up East China Coastline

Blue Tear PhenomenonA beautiful natural scenery called the “blue tear” has appeared in the waters surrounding the county-level city of Changle in east China’s Fujian Province, attracting a wave of tourists and amateur photographers.

The phenomenon produces waves filled with a beaming blue light which roll majestically into the shore. As the waves get stronger, the light will spread into a bright flash on the coastline.

According to nearby residents, the spectacular scenery has lasted for four nights since it started on the evening of July 30. It usually appears between 21:00 to 22:00 in the evening, with August 1 and August 2 producing the most amazing and long-lasting “blue tear ” spectacle.

Similar cases have been recorded in the waters of the Pingtai and Lianjiang counties of Fuzhou city, according to the staff members in the Fujian Marine and Fishery Center. The previous testing results show that the event is caused by organisms called Noctiluca scintillans, commonly known as the ‘sea sparkle’.

“Noctiluca scintillans, itself, is very special. It will not shine when it is calm; but it will automatically produce the light when it is disturbed, similar with the florescence, it will appear luminous when disturbed,” said Zheng Fulai, the head of the Enviromental Protection department of Fujian Marine Environment and Fishery Resources.

The Noctiluca scintillans is a species of dinoflagellate that is distributed in sea areas all over the world. It is the major algae that can cause the red tide phenomenon which may pose a threat to marine life.

Once large quantities of the algae gather to form a red tide, then the sea areas may turn into a pink or orange glow by morning. However, after conducting observation work and detection tests, staff members say the Changle area is not at risk due to the small density of Noctiluca Scintillans.

“Fujian Province has a high number of instances of the red tide phenomenon and it is one of the major coastal provinces of farming at sea. So we have to prevent the red tide. Each year, April to June is the high-incidence period of the red tide, so we will increase monitoring the red tide twice a week instead of twice a month during this time in accordance with the monitoring plan,” Zheng added.


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