Jenny Greenleaf was pleased that it was lastly warm adequate to go barefoot when she and her hubby took their routine walk along York beach in Southern Maine today.
However when they went back to their beach chairs and started to brush the sand off their feet, they discovered their typically pale soles were a deep black.
” I have actually never ever seen anything like this,” Ms. Greenleaf, a book designer and artist, stated. “It was practically like I strolled through charcoal.”
In the house they showered and scrubbed their feet, however the spot, which was neither slick nor oily, would just partially come off.
Along Maine’s southern coast, along with in surrounding New Hampshire, lots of others were likewise having a hard time to eliminate dark spots from their feet.
” I still can’t get it off,” stated Kyra O’Donnell, who has actually had black feet because she went to Great Island Common beach in New Hampshire, about 14 miles south of York beach, on Sunday.
Robin Cogger, the director of Parks & & Entertainment in the town of York, stated she had actually fielded about 100 calls and e-mails about stained feet today. Comparable reports on social networks originated from as far south as Gloucester, Mass., and as far north as Wells, Maine, a period of more than 70 miles.
Theories was plentiful. Algae and oil prevailed ones. “In Hawaii, the sand can turn black from volcanic gas, however no volcanoes in Maine so it’s most likely something gross,” one male composed in a regional Facebook group.
Ms. Greenleaf had a fringe theory, which even her own hubby discounted, that included a submarine she had actually seen in the location.
” Possibly that submarine burped out a cloud of nastiness,” she stated.
On Wednesday, Jim Britt, a representative for Maine’s Department of Farming, Preservation and Forestry, provided the most likely response: Countless small black kelp flies that feed off rotting seaweed appeared to have actually passed away on one stretch of beach.
” It’s not understood why,” he stated. “Nature does insane things. This may be among those circumstances.”
The insect carcasses, which appeared to have actually cleaned ashore, include a naturally taking place pigment, he stated.
Efforts were underway to determine the specific type of kelp fly, which must likewise assist respond to where they originated from. Regardless, stepping on them does not posture any health concerns, Mr. Britt stated.
He might not respond to whether it would be bad for pet dogs to consume them, a concern that some were asking on social networks.
Linda Stathoplos, a retired National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oceanographer, did her own casual assessment of the sand on Wells Beach in Southern Maine on Tuesday, gathering a sample and taking a look at it under a microscopic lense.
” There were lots and lots of little bugs, about the size of a pointer of a pin,” she stated. Some had 2 wings. Others had 4. “They were certainly all dead.”
She might not keep in mind ever becoming aware of a comparable mass “death occasion” of flies.
Neither might Joseph Kelley, a marine geologist at the University of Maine. “I have actually dealt with the geology of beaches for 40 years on the Maine coast and never ever seen anything like this (or found out about it somewhere else),” he stated in an e-mail.
On Facebook, beach tourists with tainted feet noted all the methods they had actually attempted to get the stain off. Neither meal soap nor child wipes were especially effective.
Ms. Greenleaf unintentionally found a foot-cleaning service throughout a subsequent walk. She and her hubby had actually gone back to the beach after a rain to search for ideas. Although the search was ineffective, by the end of their walk the sand and stones had actually rubbed the spots away.
” Our feet were pristine,” she stated.