Mystery substance comes to shore of Alaskan village
This orange substance was found on the shore of Kivalina, Alaska, on Wednesday, residents say.
August 5th, 2011
09:44 PM ET

Mystery substance comes to shore of Alaskan village

State and federal scientists are trying to identify a mysterious orange substance that washed up on the shore of a village in northwestern Alaska this week.

Residents on Wednesday noticed an orange sheen in the lagoon in front of Kivalina, Alaska, and clumps of the substance on the beach, city manager Janet Mitchell said.

An orange sheen could be seen in the lagoon.

The stuff on the shore had "an oily feel to it, like baby oil," resident Mida Swan said Friday. She said she detected no odor from the substance.

The substance also may have rained down on the village Wednesday evening, because it was found in buckets that some residents used to collect rainwater that night, Mitchell said.

The state Environmental Health Laboratory is preparing to send samples to scientists at various labs, including a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration laboratory, said Emanuel Hignutt, the EHL's analytical chemistry manager.

Hignutt said it's not immediately clear what the substance is.

"There doesn't appear to be any evidence of a release of oil or hazardous substances at this time, but we're continuing to investigate and try to get lab determinations on what exactly the material is," Hignutt said.

"What it is - an algal bloom, or something inorganic - that's what we're working to get some more information on," he said.

Mitchell said the substance also was found in the Wulik River, which flows into the lagoon and is a source of the village's drinking water. She said the village would delay topping off its water storage tanks, which it does every summer so that it has enough water for the winter, until the substance is identified.

Kivalina, a village of about 430 people, is about 650 miles northwest of Anchorage, Alaska.

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Filed under: Alaska • Environment
soundoff (543 Responses)
  1. brad

    Its a homeless guy that lives on mac and cheese he tool a dump in the lagoon

    August 6, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  2. corey

    im gonna move out of country before the zombies attack! Palin says that Africas a great country......... Thats where ill go! :)

    August 6, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Josh

    It's Sarah Palin's excretions.

    August 6, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Guest

    It looks like a combination of semen and whale vomit.

    August 6, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  5. Guest

    Maybe some guys in russia went pumpkin stomping

    August 6, 2011 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  6. nana

    sweat from the cheeto man

    August 6, 2011 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Max Brooks

      This is how the zombie apocalypse starts....

      August 6, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Cr0ppop

      "Logic" dictates, eh? I don't know if you are just a troll or an ignorant Social Conservative. It's getting more difficult to tell on these CNN forums.

      August 6, 2011 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • flossy

      MARK--WOMEN ILLOGICAL??? We are witnessing an example of the logical thinking of men in the current status of our country's economical downfall!!

      August 6, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Troy

    Maybe it's Chocolate Rain!

    August 6, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  8. Forrest

    @Runner: Run forrest run! Go nibble on that box of chocolates your gf has for you in her pants. Lol yum. Mmm I taste Carmello Anthony..

    August 6, 2011 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  9. donnamarinchekmarn01

    And the Environment Health Lab....Will do what...When they get the Answers?Not 1 Damn Thing....As Usual.Don't keep blaming the President for everyone's Ignorance.....He is not a "Preschool Teacher".

    August 6, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Casey

    Palin took a bath....washing off all her BS...

    August 6, 2011 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  11. Morgan Sheridan

    Well, hey, we're gonna be 'starving government' so soon we won't have labs like the ones at the CDC and NIH for much longer to send stuff like this to for testing! Wont' that be a relief? We won't know what it is, so we can just ignore it and have "faith" that it'll go away and fix itself, but if it makes us sick, we can 'pray' away the results. Three cheers to us Americans and our pursuit of tax breaks and mediocrity!

    August 6, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mtee

    Hurry call mulder and scully

    August 6, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  13. New Yorker

    Well, I hope its nothing that's a prelude to something that can harm us in anyway.

    The scientific analysis that is going to tell us what it is will allow us to breath easier or be concerned ... so all you guys and gals
    That choose to Dis everything better hope this is something to laugh at.

    New York Seriouis and Mature

    August 6, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  14. C. Coy

    Is the salmon safe to eat that live in these waters?

    August 6, 2011 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. party with Tang

    The orange Tang mystery. Someone has found a crate of the astronauts favorite beverage and dumped it in the bay. Who cares?? Jig-a-boos rule!! Let's party and hit da booze!

    August 6, 2011 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
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