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I took my usual weekend stroll along the strand (Del Monte Beach in Monterey, California) today.

It was different today than ever before.

For one thing, there were no Sandpipers or Plovers or Gulls on the beach. Perhaps that was because it was pretty windy. There were gulls and pelicans flying overhead, but none landed on the beach.

But there was something else stranger and possibly disturbing: the surf was very sudsy; it was as if somebody had dumped tons of Mr. Bubble into the Bay. The edges of the surf (left behind after the waves) looked just like a bubble bath. The wind was blowing pieces off the sudsurf that looked like what you get when you blow the sudsy bubble bath foam off your hand, and the pieces went blowing along the beach like coastal tumbleweeds.

Is this a known phenomenom? I've never seen it before...

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Sea foam, ya see. We get tons on the Texas gulf coast -- en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_foam – Chris Mendez Feb 1 at 1:07
up vote 11 down vote accepted

The suds are caused by protein. Protein is usually consumed by the nitrogen cycle and finally plant life, but if there is enough water churning by wind and white caps and breaking waves it can froth up and dry out and get blown away and get trapped a gyre where is eventually melts back down into the water. Sometimes it gets blown into a beach as you've seen.

Oh and by the way, it's completely natural, not something to be concerned about.

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Sea foam, ocean foam, beach foam, or spume is a type of foam created by the agitation of seawater, particularly when it contains higher concentrations of dissolved organic matter (including proteins, lignins, and lipids) derived from sources such as the offshore breakdown of algal blooms or human waste.

The lack of wildlife could be explained by their food sources being covered in possibly irritating or infectious foam.

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