Miscellaneous. Color of the Ocean.

Scientific American 34, 11.5.1850

The waters of the globe exhibits carious hues, which depend upon a variety of circumstances. The ocean absorbs all the prismatic colors except that of ultramarine, which is reflected in every direction. This Is its true color in general when seen apart from atmospheric influence, modified by depth; but every gleam of sunshine, passing clouds, winds, shoals, and sandbanks, affect its tints. Particular parts of the ocean show peculiar colors. The sea is white in the Gulph of Guinea, and black amid the Maldive Islands. Various purple, red and rose-colored waters occur in the higher parts of the Mediterranean, in the vermillion sea off California, the Red Sea, and in tracts along the coasts of Chili, Brazil, art Australia.

Green water appears in the connection with the deepest blue in the Arctic ocean. The appearances are permanent, and no distinct, that ships have been partly in blue and partly in green at the same time. These tints are occasioned by differently colored animalculæ, which swarm in countless myriads in the tracts in question. The same species of animalculæ which color the Red Sea, have been found in other similary tinted districts of the ocean. The green of the Arctic seas is produced also by minute animals, which visit in spring the coast of Holland, and have been encountered in immense shoals migrating in the Atlantic. In the Antartic regions, Sir James Ross remarked repeatedly the change of color of the sea, from light oceanic blue to a dirty brown, caused by ferriginous animalculæ. The phosphorescence of the ocean, a inagnificient and imposing spectacle, when the waves scintilate with bright green sparks, or exhibit a long line of tire flashing in a thousand directions, is mainly caused by minute organic beings, which are phosphorescent while alive; a property retained by the gelatinous particles with which certain tracts of the deep are thickly charged — their dead and dismembered relics. At the same time, a disturbed electrical condition of the atmosphere may be most favorable to the phenomenon.

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