HomeOutdoorsViralLOOK: Portion of Pacific Ocean Turns Pink off California Coast

LOOK: Portion of Pacific Ocean Turns Pink off California Coast

by Emily Morgan
Pacific Ocean Pink California Coast Happen Again
Photo by: Rui Jin

Pink-tinted waves crashed onto a San Diego beach in Southern California on Jan. 20, causing beachgoers to turn their heads. However, it was all in the name of science. According to reports, researchers from the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of Washington turned a portion of the pacific ocean pink.

According to a news release, researchers conducted the experiment near Torrey Pines Beach to “study how small freshwater outflows interact with the surf zone.” Torrey Pines is about 15 miles northwest of downtown San Diego.

They also released dye in the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon because it is a “prime example” of a minor river plume moving into the surf zone along a stretch of coastline.

According to the university, researchers first released the environmentally safe pink dye at the California beach on Jan. 20. The other releases are set for later in January and early February.

The release dates were also carefully chosen as the experiment could only be done during the ocean’s ebb tide. During this period, water levels diminish. Once the dye hit the water, people’s naked eyes could see the shade of pink for several hours. In addition, the release states that small traces can be “detectable by instruments for approximately 24 hours.”

Researchers to release more pink dye in California waters in coming days

The goal of the “Plumes in Nearshore Conditions” project is to study and further examine “the interactions between small river plumes and the surf zone.”

“I’m excited because this research hasn’t been done before. And it’s a really unique experiment,” said Scripps coastal oceanographer Sarah Giddings. She heads up the PiNC study, according to the release.

“We’re bringing together a lot of different people with different expertise, such that I think it’s going to have some really great results and impacts. We will combine results from this experiment with an older field study and computer models that will allow us to make progress on understanding how these plumes spread.”

Now, researchers will monitor the pink water with the assistance of drones and sensors tied to poles in the sand. They’ll also deploy researchers to the location in jetskis with devices that measure how much light the dye emits.

Researchers also said, “the results of this study will provide crucial data for quantifying the spread of sediment, pollutants, larvae, and other important material in the nearshore environment.”

While bizarre to those unfamiliar with the science, this pink procedure has been done in the past. In 2015, scientists at Scripps Oceanography used pink dye in an international study. At the time, they studied how pollution moves across beach waters near the U.S.-Mexico border.