180 miles of Oregon coast travel: Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Manzanita,
Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway, Garibaldi, Tillamook, Oceanside, Pacific City,
Lincoln City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Waldport, Yachats & Florence.
Natural Events Photographed on Oregon Coast
and just afterwards, interesting things happen on the coast
(Oregon Coast) –
It happened at two geographically divergent points on the Oregon coast
– and it happened in two different realms of the scientific world.
A woman in Seaside
captured a photograph of the glowing sands phenomenon, and a man in Newport
snapped a picture of the “green flash” at sunset – both
events rare in this region. Both have given Oregon’s coastal tourism
industry much to talk about for a time, with events so singular and odd
they verge on the paranormal.
In early August, Tiffany
Boothe, with the Seaside Aquarium,
embarked on a minor journey of discovery on the beaches of Gearhart after
dusk to try and spot the “glowing sands” event and take photos
To the naked eye,
this phenomenon looks like faint, greenish, blue sparks underneath your
feet in the wet sand.
What her camera caught
was a couple of blue dots. While that may seem ridiculously uninteresting
to those first viewing the photo, it is indeed an accomplishment when
you realize the creatures that cause this are microscopic, they flash
their bioluminescence for less than a second and when you take in the
other factors that make this photographically nearly impossible to capture.
faint blue dots are glowing phytoplankton
The creatures are
a form of phytoplankton called dinoflagellates – part of the family
of microscopic plants that form the bottom of the food chain for marine
life. This particular brand is bioluminescent, meaning they give off a
glow when disturbed or bumped through internal chemistry processes, much
in the same way a firefly does.
They tend to hit Oregon’s
beaches in warmer periods when nutrients can be more abundant and more
sunlight can help “charge them up.”
The luminescence of
a single dinoflagellate lasts for 0.1 seconds, which is why photographing
the phenomenon is so next to impossible. Larger organisms, such as jellyfish,
can be luminescent for tens of seconds.
and friends trying to photograph the creatures
When Boothe tried
photographing this, most shots came out with nothing or nearly nothing.
She and two friends grabbed jars and poured wet sand that had the dinoflagellates
into jars. They then tried shaking the jars. But the flashes happen too
fast for a long exposure to catch – and a long exposure is what
it would take to catch such a faint glow.
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Still, she managed
to capture these two blue dots. The area seen in the photo above is less
than an inch in circumference. The photo was shot as the group was pouring
the sand into the jar, not when they shook the jar. Boothe said the dinoflagellates
sparked much more during the pouring process.
is the light produced by a chemical reaction that occurs in an organism,”
said Boothe. “It occurs at all depths in the ocean, but is most
commonly observed at the surface. Bioluminescence is the only source of
light in the deep ocean where sunlight does not penetrate.”
said bioluminescence in sea creatures is blue for two reasons. One, blue/green
light travels the farthest in water. “Its wavelength is between
440 to 479 nm, which is mid-range in the spectrum of colors,” Boothe
said. “And the second reason is that most organisms are sensitive
to only blue light. They do not have the ability to absorb the longer
or shorter wavelengths of other lights such as red.”
To see the glowing
sands, you must have a very dark beach with little or no light interference
from lamps on land or the moon. They can appear in bays, like Nehalem
Bay or Yaquina Bay. When you run your hand through the water it will manifest
an eerie bluish glow.
"green ray" photo, July 10, 2006
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restaurant owner Bob Trusty loves to photograph the lush sunsets of Nye
Beach, especially from the perch above the Nye Beach Turnaround where
Market & Deli sits.
One day – July
10 to be exact – he happened to catch a form of the much-revered
“green flash” at sunset, a rare occurrence where a green blob
appears at the upper edge of the sun just before it dips below the horizon.
In Trusty’s case, he caught a version of this oddity called the
“green ray,” where shafts of blue or green light come streaming
out from the sun just before it goes away.
Trusty was filled
with glee over the event. “That was one of the coolest things,”
he said. “I couldn’t really believe I’d gotten it at
first. It’s really rare to be able to catch things like that. I
was really, really lucky.”
architecture in Nye Beach is conducive to intriguing photos at sunset
The phenomenon usually
appears as a tiny tip of the sun appearing green just a few seconds before
it’s gone. The shape is sort of oblong, while flattened at the bottom.
There are other types of green flashes that appear in other shapes, slightly
longer periods or other colors such as red, violet or blue.
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Trusty caught one
of the more rare types, called the green ray, where shafts of darkly colored
sunlight spring out from clouds or coastal fog. This is even more significant
because the green ray is rarer than the other forms, and even rarer still
are instances where this occurs while banks of clouds are in the way.
Normally, forms of the green flashes only happen with clear and unobstructed
views of the sunset.
According to one website
created by Andrew Young of San Diego University, if you know what
to look for, these phenomenon are not that rare at all, but it can be
seen in “most sunsets,” as Young put it.
effect is the result of refraction in the atmosphere. In very simplified
terms, longer bandwidths of light get knocked out by atmospheric conditions
until you’re left with just green – or whatever color is the
result of this situation. Basically, the path between your eye and this
portion of the sun are filled with just the right conditions to cut out
these colors of the sunset.
This happens almost
as often with sunrises as well. Mostly what is needed is a clear, long
path between you and the sunset for this mirage to appear, such as a desert
or body of water like the ocean.
In the meantime, Trusty
and his Village Market & Deli have been getting some notoriety for
the photographic catch. He’ll soon be on the Oregon
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oceanfront Jacuzzi suite has two bedrooms, kitchen, double hide-a-bed,
fireplace and private deck, sleeping as many as six. For family
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to create two-room and three-room suites. Some rooms pet friendly.
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Ocean Lodge. There will not be another property built
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book collection. Pet and family friendly. Lavish continental buffet
breakfast. In-room fireplaces, mini-kitchens. Jacuzzi tubs in select
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888-777-4047. 503-436-2241. 2864 Pacific Street. Cannon Beach, Oregon.
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Cape Property Services.
Dozens of homes in that dreamy,
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Cape. Oceanfront and ocean view , or just a short walk from the
All homes are immaculate and smoke free; some pet friendly (with
a fee). Some with broadband, indoor or outdoor hot tubs, fireplaces,
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here for video of Dec. storm aftermath
Coast Best of Awards for the Year And the winners
are: best of Oregon coast restaurants, lodgings, science, odd events
in nature and stunning moments for 2007
Transformations of Oregon Coast Beaches Seasons change
and so do beaches, revealing different sides and a variety of eye-popping
Found on Oregon Beach May Be 80,000 Years Old - They
are the remnants of a forest apparently 80,000 years old, found at Hug
or Night Mysteries and Merriment on Oregon Coast It's
more than just nightlife that comes to life, but the beaches offer major
Coast Travel Site Goes Wireless Provides Lodging Reports
- Oregon Coast Beach Connection now has mobile lodging and dining listings,
along with weekly lodging availability reports
coast mileage chart & map
trips, suggested itineraries
for Oregon Coast Subjects, Articles
Coast Real Estate
Things to Do
Coast Complete Guides (every beach access,
TAKE THE VIRTUAL TOUR
Where the Columbia meets the Pacific,
Land of Lewis & Clark and loads of atmosphere & history
The Promenade, Tillamook Head, family
fun & broad, sandy beaches
A mysterious lighthouse, upscale
yet earthy, a huge monolith, fine eateries & an art mecca
Manzanita's beaches, Nehalem and
Wheeler's quirky beauty; laid back Rockaway
Garibaldi, Barview, Bay City, Tillamook
& an oceanfront ghost town
The hidden secret of the coast: Cape
Meares, a lighthouse, Oceanside, Netarts and Pacific City
A spouting horn downtown, freaky hidden
cliffs and whales, whales, whales
Time-tripping Nye Beach, a bustling
bayfront, marine science-central and two lighthouses
Constantly dramatic wave action, a mix of the rugged &
A lighthouse, ancient bayfront and miles and miles of fluffy