CHENNAI: People visiting beaches along Chennai’s East Coast Road on Sunday evening were left surprised and puzzled when they saw something they had never seen before – blue, sparkling waves hitting the shore. The rare occurrence, which left hundreds of beach visitors in awe of its beauty, has left scientists curious and worried.
Beaches along and near Chennai’s coast which witnessed the rare occurrence include the Thiruvanmiyur beach, the Palavakkam beach, and the Injambakkam beach.
The phenomenon of blue waves or blue tides is known as Bioluminescence. It is caused by an algae called bioluminescent phytoplankton. As the waves hit the shore, these phytoplanktons converts their chemical energy into electrical energy causing it to emit a blue glow on the face of the waves. The scientific name of the bioluminescent phytoplankton species is Noctiluca Scintillans. It is also commonly called ‘sea sparkle’.
Bioluminescent tides were seen in Maldives in the Indian Ocean last year and has been seen infrequently along coastal California in the Pacific Ocean.
Scientists believe that the occurrence may be caused by a change in the marine ecosystem and must be researched for possible harm it may do to marine life along coastal Tamil Nadu. The phenomenon is also linked to warming of ocean currents due to climate change.
Visitors to the beach however, shared photographs of the beautiful sight of the ocean glowing blue under the night sky.
Some even shared videos of the sparkling blue waves along the Chennai coastline, saying they were lucky to have missed their flight as they got to see such a rare and beautiful sight.
— T R B Rajaa (@TRBRajaa) August 18, 2019