The orange goo washing ashore in Alaska is millions of microscopic eggs filled with fatty droplets.
(AP) -- Scientists have identified an orange-colored gunk that appeared along the shore of a remote Alaska village as millions of microscopic eggs filled with fatty droplets.
But the mystery is not quite solved. Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday they don't know for sure what species the eggs are, although they believe they are some kind of crustacean eggs or embryos. They also don't know if the eggs are toxic, and that worries many of the 374 residents of Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo community located at the tip of an 8-mile barrier reef on Alaska's northwest coast.
There's been at least one report of dead minnows found in the lagoon of the village the night the eggs appeared last week. Residents also are worried about the community's dwindling reserves in village water tanks even though the orange mass has dissipated from the lagoon and Wulik River, said city administrator Janet Mitchell.
"It seems to be all gone," she said. "But if they're microscopic eggs, who's to say they're not still in the river?"
Scientists also don't know why the unidentified eggs suddenly emerged on the shores of Kivalina last week. Villagers say they've never seen such a phenomenon before.
"We'll probably find some clues, but we'll likely never have a definitive answer on that," NOAA spokeswoman Julie Speegle said.