Tecnología

El Tubazo TV | Sea foam creates snow-like effect on Manzanilla coast

Sea foam is a reg­u­lar fea­ture of coast­lines gen­er­al­ly af­ter heavy rain­fall, as or­gan­ic mat­ter and runoff pol­lu­tants in­ter­act in the ocean, nat­u­ral­ly pro­duc­ing bub­bles. When there are strong winds at the ocean’s sur­face that ag­i­tate seas, these bub­bles be­come sea foam and build on the coast­lines

It may ap­pear like snow at first glance, but it cer­tain­ly moves and feels more like soap suds. What’s cov­er­ing the Man­zanil­la Coast, you may ask? Sea foam, in abun­dant quan­ti­ties, is now blow­ing on­to the Man­zanil­la-Ma­yaro Road.

Sea foam is a reg­u­lar fea­ture of coast­lines gen­er­al­ly af­ter heavy rain­fall, as or­gan­ic mat­ter and runoff pol­lu­tants in­ter­act in the ocean, nat­u­ral­ly pro­duc­ing bub­bles. When there are strong winds at the ocean’s sur­face that ag­i­tate seas, these bub­bles be­come sea foam and build on the coast­lines.

Ac­cord­ing to act­ing di­rec­tor of the In­sti­tute of Ma­rine Af­fairs (IMA), Dr Ra­han­na Ju­man, this is not un­com­mon on Trinidad’s east­ern coast.

Sea­wa­ter con­tains sev­er­al con­stituents such as dis­solved salts, pro­teins, fats, dead al­gae, de­ter­gents and oth­er land-based pol­lu­tants, and pieces of or­gan­ic mat­ter. If this wa­ter was placed in a small re­cep­ta­cle such as a drink­ing glass and shak­en, small bub­bles will form on the sur­face of the liq­uid. Sea foam forms in this way—but on a much grander scale —when the ocean is ag­i­tat­ed by wind and waves.”

The IMA added, “The East Coast re­ceives land-based runoff from many rivers along that coast. Heavy rain­fall leads to in­creased land-based runoff of pol­lu­tants such as nu­tri­ents and or­gan­ic mat­ter from the wet­lands. This land-based runoff, to­geth­er with tur­bu­lent sea con­di­tions, leads to con­di­tions that al­low for the cre­ation of the sea foam. This is not an un­com­mon oc­cur­rence on Trinidad’s east coast.”

How­ev­er, the IMA ex­plained that al­gal blooms are al­so one com­mon source of thick sea foam.

“When large blooms of al­gae de­cay off­shore, great amounts of de­cay­ing al­gal mat­ter of­ten wash ashore. Foam forms as this or­gan­ic mat­ter are churned up by the surf.”

Thank­ful­ly, most sea foam is not harm­ful to hu­mans and is of­ten an in­di­ca­tion of a pro­duc­tive ocean ecosys­tem. But ac­cord­ing to the IMA, when large harm­ful al­gal blooms de­cay near shore, it leads to po­ten­tial­ly neg­a­tive im­pacts on hu­man health and the en­vi­ron­ment.