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Torre de Benagalbón beach, in Rincón de la Victoria, at the start of the week. J. R. C.
Environment

Video: Why have 'glowing' blue waves been seen off some beaches of the Costa del Sol?

The strange phenomenon has stunned onlookers and created a storm on social media with many people questioning what has caused it

José Rodríguez Cámara

Rincón de la Victoria

Friday, 5 April 2024, 11:43

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Glowing blue waves off the shore of Rincón de la Victoria, on the eastern strip of the Costa del Sol, have stunned onlookers, with the water being so bright some people believed lasers were behind it.

"I was walking with my husband along the promenade in Torre de Benagalbón when he said to me: 'Look, there are lights in the water!' At first, to be honest, we thought someone was holding a laser torch with a light. Then we saw that every wave lit up when it broke," Carol Goya, a dazzled local said.

She and many others in the area have been stunned by the phenomenon along the shore off the eastern Malaga province coast in recent days. She has since discovered that laser lights were not the cause. With every breaking wave the Mediterranean natural shone, emitting an almost neon blue light. This is caused by the "noctilucas scintillans", a zooplankton that lives up to its nickname of the "spark of the sea".

Juan Antonio López, from the Aula del Mar Mediterráneo foundation, said it is not a frequent occurrence on the Malaga coast, as it is in other parts of the country, such as Galicia. The scientist pointed out that, in Malaga and, in general, along the Andalusian coastline, it is more common for the waves to turn red or green, also due to the effect of zooplankton. In all cases, the event occurs when a "bloom" is registered, which is a high concentration of the organisms that generate it.

The fluorescent blue sea is caused by heavy rain and wind over the past few days, López added. A combination of sea currents and a greater dragging of organic and inorganic material from the streams created a veritable feast for the noctilucas which, basically, have had much more food than usual and have reproduced at full speed.

They disappear quickly however as their cycle is short, López pointed out. One of the keys to understanding their proliferation is also to be found in the products used in agriculture, as they like to feed on chemicals used in farming. The enzymes these organisms have, and which, when reacting with oxygen, generate bioluminescence, the blue waves that have been seen on numerous occasions and sparked huge interest among locals and on social media.

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