Here's a natural mystery unlike any other: purple slime is clotting up fjords in Norway, and no one knows exactly what the stuff is.
Needless to say, the Ghostbusters-esque goo has been freaking out sailors and fishermen since it first started congealing last August. The texture of the slime is as syrupy as it looks and has collected in massive clods that cover millions of cubic meters, most notably in the Lyngen Fjord, reports The Local.
“The images we are picking up from the echo sounders and other equipment are totally atypical. We have tried to gather information to find the answers, but I am absolutely sure that this is something we’ve never seen before,” said Roger Larsen, associate professor at the University in Tromsø.
The leading theory so far is that the gelatinous ooze represents the disintegrated remains of jellyfish-like creatures called comb jellies. The species Ctenophora beroe is common in fjord waters, but exactly how they might have aggregated in such a large group, let alone how they disintegrated into purple slime, remains anyone's guess. Scientists have yet to analyze the colorful sludge, but samples have been taken and tests are scheduled.
The slime is not just eerie, it's also an obstacle for boats and fishermen. For instance, many fishermen rely on sonar to locate their catch, but the goo is blocking their readings. Instead of scooping up nets of fish, fishermen are hauling in heaps of purple gunk.
To make matters even more bizarre, scientists investigating the phenomenon have trawled the fjord and discovered a marble-like gelatinous creature that has no visible tentacles, and it may be a species new to science. Whether or not this creature has anything to do with the purple slime remains to be seen.
"I've done annual cruises with my students here in the past, and have never seen anything like this," Larsen told Earth Touch. "It is obvious that there is something going on which [the] wildlife [is] unable to cope with."