Thursday, July 24, 2008

Bloom Over

A massive algal bloom in Qingdao, China, that threatened the sailing events in the upcoming Beijing Olympics has been successfully cleaned up, reports The New York Times. According to a Chinese official, barriers were installed in order to keep additional algae from infiltrating the waters that are slated for competition. The algae first appeared in late June and quickly spread, at its peak covering one third of the waters in the area. But by Monday, volunteers and workers had cleared over 700,000 tons of algae from the water and surrounding seashore.

Harmful algal blooms (often referred to as red tides) can occur due to an excess of nutrients in an aquatic system, which often results in a significant reduction of oxygen. Other blooms are natural, seasonal occurrences. Still others can be attributed to factors such as influxes in iron-rich dust and climate changes. The cause of the Qingdao bloom has yet to be determined.

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