A strange, orange-coloured goo that appeared on the shores of a remote Alaskan village last week has been identified as millions of microscopic eggs.
Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said the fat-filled eggs are probably embryos produced by some kind of crustacean. However, mystery still surrounds the exact species of the eggs, and scientists say they may never know what caused so many to wash up on the shores of lagoons, ponds and puddles in the hamlet of Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo community at the tip of a barrier reef on Alaska's north-west coast.
"We'll probably find some clues, but we'll likely never have a definitive answer," Julie Speegle of the NOAA said. She dismissed speculation that the phenomenon, which occurred soon after rain showers, was a result of climate change. Although the goo has now disappeared, many of the village's 347 residents continue to worry about its long-term effects because officials have been unable to confirm that the eggs are not toxic.