The Nonsense Papers: Orange “Goo” of Alaska Still Remains A Mystery
By James W. Astrada
As of last year 2011, Alaska was blanketed by a mysterious orange “goo” which stunned the town of Kivalina for quite some time. At first, the townspeople were worried of some alien bacteria substance that was invading their hometown. Later established scientists were able to calm them down and explain that the mystery as “microscopic eggs filled with fatty droplets.” Although they claim the incident solved, officials from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) stated they really didn’t know the origin of the eggs, whether they were crustacean or embryos, if they were toxic, or could they effect the 8 mile barrier reef on Alaska’s northwest coast. What could these “eggs” be if not something from another world? If they still remain a mystery, that means the incident is far from solved and could require more investigations.
Certain events that transpired in August 2011 kept people worried that these organisms could cause potential harm to themselves and their communities. One investigation found dead minnows the night the eggs arrived in the lagoon. Could they have infected the birds and killed them as they tried to eat them? Or did they die as a result of merely coming in contact with them physically? After this, the eggs mysteriously dissipated from both the lagoon and Wulik river according to city administrator Janet Mitchell. Several samples were sent to NOAA laboratory in South Carolina for further testing last year, and they were also sent to the Institute for Marine Science at the university of Alaska Fairbanks. What puzzled the townspeople the most was what effect could the goo have on wildlife and plant life. According to Mitchell, the substance turned “powdery” once it dried, hinting that it could of possibly went airborne. Several other factors were brought under investigation on whether fruits like the native salmonberries (which are the same color as the goo) could be affected if they were picked. Another strange phenomena was that some of the substance was present on one roof in the village and in rainwater buckets. The distance covered by this substance spread half a mile wide and six miles long. If that wasn’t bizarre enough, “Orangey water” was also reported in another town of Buckland Alaska which was as far as 150 miles away from Kivalina. If this wasn’t a threat as scientist are deeming it, how could a harmless substance kill minnows and cover large amounts of area in the excess of reported thousands of gallons? Although scientists assumed that migrating wildlife would not be affected, who is to say they could be wrong? Many townspeople all agreed that this incident was like nothing they have ever seen; NOAA spokeswoman Julie Speegle attributed this phenomena to climate change as she gathered speculations that temperatures were changing and could be the link between the invasion of the eggs at this time.
Not enough investigations were made to determine if this were more than mere microscopic eggs with even more anomalies found a year later. Established science was quick to close the book on this investigations without going into details. NOAA’s speculations were challenged by the U.S. Forest Service and the Canadian Forest Service who claimed the spores originated from a tree called the Spruce-Labrador Tea Needle. According to their investigation, rust colors on both tree needles and leaves are orange due to the fungus using both trees to survive. Numerous amounts of these tree types thrive around the city of Kivalina, although people did not report seeing any color changes or discolored leaves last season during their annual berry picking. To make matters worse, no one was sent to the scene to investigate their bizarre claim of the fungus-hypothesis. Nick Lisuzzo from the Forest Service in Fairbanks claimed that rust doesn’t endanger any human hosts and that money is not necessary to waste on “harmless outbreaks.” Did he forget about the dead minnows and their exposure to these “harmless” eggs? It seems strange that no more investigations were made especially when all of these anomalies were reported to consider that this may not be a harmless incident, should not be taken lightly. Although Robin Mulvey (a Forest Service “expert”) reported that the state has always had a history of outbreaks of spruce-rust, however, she could not explain how they ended up in rainwater buckets. Even though they could of traveled for miles and miles, she stated that the evidence was not conclusive to pin the culprit on the fungus since no genetic testing was done. With all the mysteries surrounding this incident, why wasn’t genetic testing done to find where exactly this substance came from? Why dabble on theories to calm the people while not doing what science is paid to do: present facts? Most incidents are deemed harmless as not to incite fear when there could really be a problem. With all of these so called experts and their theories, the investigation is still not solved as they claim it. Could this happen again or would it be considered an isolated incident? What ever happened to the Buckland investigations of their discolored water? Did it tie into similarities with Kivalina and their situation? No further information was offered by either government agency making the situation more bizarre for a “simple” explanation that they offered. I have a strong feeling that this is not the last time we here about this phenomena. Could it indeed be climate change as Speegle suggested? Or are we really dealing with an alien
organism from another planet….or even worse our own planet?
Alex DeMarben. “Kivalina’s great orange goo mystery takes another twist.” Alaska Dispatch. March 8th 2012.
Heather Campobello. “Researchers Confirm that Alaska is not Facing the Wrath of an Alien blob.” Web Pro News. March 7th 2012.
©James Astrada 2012.