Chances are if you live in the Golden State you've already seen photos of beautiful neon blue waters taking over your Instagram feeds these past few weeks. But here's something you probably didn't know about. The bioluminescence in California is actually turning local beaches into massive stink bombs you can smell from miles away.
“The smell is because the red tide is breaking down,” said Michael Latz, a San Diego biologist of Scripps Institution of Oceanography told the Los Angeles Times.
Now that the ocean's light show is ending, it's leaving a mess in its wake and it's all thanks to red tide (algal blooms).
What's causing this smelly disaster?
The Los Angeles Times said that red tides occur phytoplankton that cause bioluminescence rapidly reproduce (aka bloom).
That's when they turn the seawater rusty brown. When the beautiful blue from their photochemicals dies out, it leaves the smell of rot and decay along shores for miles.
Latz went on to say, "You put it all together and you have the breakdown of the red tide producing odors, and the bacteria producing odors, and it makes it very stinky.”
He even said he could smell it from a mile and a half inland!
Is the stink from red tide dangerous to humans? In some cases, yes.
Latz noted that the red tide decay can produce nonpoisonous toxins that are harmful to both sea creatures near it and people, too.
Some people sensitive to it could potentially develop skin rashes or respiratory irritation, he said.
The Orange County Register reports that the beauty of the bioluminescence originally came down to California from Baja, Mexico.
It's now fading off of local shores. If you've had the chance to see it, you can count yourself as one of the lucky ones. It usually occurs once every few years.
* The cover photo was used for illustrative purposes only.