Bizarre Foam Phenomenon Sweeps Over French Fishing Village

January 14, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

Photo credit: Frédéric Decker/Youtube

Nope, it’s not snow!

When you first look at this town, it appears to be blanketed in a thick layer of snow.  However, if you look a little bit closer you can see that it is actually covered in foam.  Ocean foam to be exact.

Locals from a small fishing village in Saint Guénolé in north west France woke up to this scene Saturday (January 2) morning after being bombarded with storms during the night.  These storms submerged the town in a ridiculous amount of sea foam.

Sea foam or spume forms when ocean water is agitated, often from high winds and rough seas.  It occurs most often when the water contains high concentrations of dissolved organic matter, such as salts, proteins, seaweed, and algae.

If you woke up to this you might be worried at first, but it is perfectly natural and poses no harmful threat to humans.  In fact, sea foam is actually an indication of a productive ocean ecosystem.  

Nonetheless, experts suggest cleaning up the leftover foam quickly to prevent possible algal toxins from further deteriorating. These toxins could become airborne, posing health risks to the public including eye irritation and breathing issues for those suffering from asthma or other respiratory disorders.

You definitely wouldn’t catch me making any foam angels!

Read next: 6 of the Strangest Natural Phenomena Caused by Ice

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