Into SFO

flying back to san francisco.

the approach brings us low over the water. it must be the bay, though i have the familiar feeling that we’re descending into the ocean. just as the plane is getting low enough to be certain that land must be near, i see these strange looking pools in the water. is it water? chemicals? they’re huge and swirly. and there are a ton of them. i want to know what they’re doing here. how come i haven’t seen these things before? have they been occupying half the bay all along?


because it would make sense geographically, and because i know some strange processing goes on around there, i suspect this has something to do with the area around the dumbarton bridge. my google search goes like this: ‘around the dumbarton bridge bay red patterns.’ amazingly, this leads to an article which leads to another article, and i have my answer.

Wikipedia: Salt Evaporation Ponds.

Salt evaporation ponds are shallow man-made ponds designed to produce salt from sea water.

Due to variable algal concentrations, vivid colors, from pale green to bright red, are created in the evaporation ponds. The color indicates the salinity of the ponds. Micro-organisms change their hues as the salinity of the pond increases. In low to mid-salinity ponds, green algae are predominant. In middle to high salinity ponds, an algae called Dunaliella salina shifts the color to red. Millions of tiny brine shrimp create an orange cast in mid-salinity ponds. Other bacteria such as Stichococcus also contribute tints. These colors are especially interesting to airplane passengers or astronauts passing above due to their somewhat artistic formations of shape and color.

mystery solved. =)
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google maps sees it too. =)