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. Aaron

    I dint think Obama has anythIng to do with how messed you're country is, you as citizens have accomplished that all on your own through decades of bad desicions. If anything Obama had done nothing but try and help, but even he can't get anywhere because you as a country can't decide who you want in government. But this article isn't even about the government, it's about some orange goo not even scientists can identify. So I'm pretty sure it deserves a little more concern than the immature jones you guys come up with. If it was you're town I don't think I would hear these jokes. Those people depend on that water

    August 7, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dr. Lofton

    It's harmless, just a little neon Ramen. Try some. Mikey likes it. Actually, it's just alpha nutrients coagulating with cold water after the runoff from the mountains. Good protein.

    August 7, 2011 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. chucknorris

    Chuck Norris has an explanation for this.

    August 7, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. rex

    The economy was fine after clinton left office. Then 9/11 happened and bush didnt know what to do to fix it. It wasnt a priority for him... He didnt understand it and the damage his lack of insight into that area would cause. He focused on iraq and by the time obama took office he was handed a turd and asked to perform a miracle with the entire republican party working against him and blaming him for the mess. That hypocracy is why im voting for obama on 2012... That and the fact the republican party has gone too far right and is composed of a bunch of tea party nutjobs.

    August 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nemo

    CNN NEWS UPDATE: the goo washing definitely an orange color! Lawyers won't comment on why the goo has crawled upon the shore! Now here's tom with the weather.

    August 7, 2011 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. nemo

    Hey rex...your a tool....get a freaking job...suck it up and quit blaming the government for everything and get your own ya cry baby d bag!...and since you can't shouldn't be posting...this conversation is about orange goo...not obama..not clinton...and most certainly not your senseless rants over who to blame for the economy...blame your lazy self....ya want change...get a gun...and go change drip!

    August 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PinkFlam

    August 5th, 2011 09:44 PM ET

    It's now August 7, 2011 12:36 PM ET and this is still "Just In"?

    August 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Apa

    Mulder and Scully would know what to do...

    August 7, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • jksprout


      August 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Earnest T Bass

      I like that.

      August 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boris Morris

      The truth is out there. Don't believe it is of this earth.

      August 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. EuphioTGank

    by reading the comments here I'm guessing no one really cares what the orange stuff is but, it sounds a lot like shredded cheddar cheese so i'm thinking someone is making a town sized batch of nachos

    August 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dr. Lofton

    Nemo take it easy on the idiots. Let them blab their mess. And to the one that is voting for (whoever, who f'n cares) "on" 2012, it is "in". And. I hope wholeheartedly the (whoever you want bud,mind changes accepted), gets voted out!

    August 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Listening to you

    US is in humoungos debt. That's because Americans don't know how to live within its means. They are greedy, full of themselve looking for pleausure little people with egos bigger than the us territory. Everyone who believes that America is going under because of one administration, because of mere 10 years is either mentally tight or his mind horizons don't reach further than his behind.
    Wake up y'all stop crying and start fixing. Higher taxes, expense cuts and no blaming each other for what we all are guilty of would definitely help. We should show the world what wr can really do!!!!!

    August 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dr. Lofton

    I'm having tacos with mystery cheese. Anyone wanna join, more than welcome.

    August 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dr. Lofton

    @Listening, awesomely put maam/sir!

    August 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bo

    it shredded chedar cheese

    August 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. nemo

    Gotcha doc!...
    If I win in cheese for everyone!...oh wait...someone already thought of that! Here's how ya fix the economy y'all...we tell the world to go get bent...bring everyone home...pass a law saying we owe nothing to no-one...problem? Then we invade your country and take it as a we won't have earings full of we won't have any gas..we already build electric cars...not sure why all of us don't drive one...then...we take mexico...they love us down there...make mari jane legal for goodness sake...I mean c'mon...its the 90's! Bring all the troops home...and shut down wall street...if anyone can explain a good reason..besides greed...that wall street should remain a thing we need...I say its old money trying to get rich.....America is obsessed with money!...and last....a trip to the beach for every american...putting all the stress on these people...oh..and put all "officials" in prison for treason. NEMO 2012

    August 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
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