Lagoon Oddity, Mar Menor, Costa Cálida

Lagoon oddity, Mar Menor, Spain

Image of evolving situation in the Mar Menor. Credit: IEO official website

Scientists from the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) have detected a large mass of water with an unusual whitish colouring in the Mar Menor in recent weeks.

The differentiated body of water is located off the coast of Los Alcázares and Los Urrutias and is about 15 kilometres squared.

The IEO  began an investigation into the anomaly and their conclusion seems to be related to a phytoplankton bloom which is basically a sudden explosion of microscopic algae. The IEO will continue its investigation and hopefully find a solution as the rapid growth of this algae can create problems. If the algae grow faster than consumed it can create a ‘dead zone’ where marine life is essentially suffocated as it uses up the oxygen in the water.

A lot of speculation has begun about the cause of this anomaly and most seem to think it is related to the pollution of the Mar Menor but this anomaly has been reported in the USA also. NASA satellite images detected a similar white mass. Research carried out along the coast of British Columbia seemed to conclude that this ‘bloom’ was related to the rising temperatures of the water.

Government officials for the Region say the white mass has been there since 2016 and it is no cause for alarm.

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Written by

Catherine McGeer

I am an Irish writer who has been living in Spain for the past twenty years. My writing centers around the Costa Cálida. As a mother I also write about family life on the coast of Spain and every now and then I try to break down the world of Spanish politics!