Orange goo in Alaska was fungal spores, not tiny eggs

An orange-coloured goo that streaked the shore of a remote Alaska village turned out to be fungal spores, not millions of microscopic eggs as indicated by a preliminary analysis.

Further tests, with more advanced equipment, showed the substance is consistent with spores from fungi that create rust, which accounts for the colour, said officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The gunk appeared on 3 August at the edge of Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo community at the tip of a barrier reef on Alaska's north-west coast.

The substance quickly dissipated from the village lagoon and the Wulik River. But many of Kivalina's 374 residents worried about the long-term effect on the water quality – and on some wildlife, fish and plants they use for food – from a phenomenon they had never seen before. Dead minnows were reported to have been found in the lagoon the night the substance appeared.