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Bubbles at Sandspit
updated: Jul 31, 2014, 11:31 AM

By Scott

I was paddle boarding yesterday and took a break at Sandspit point at the harbor. I'm wondering what those gas-like bubbles near the shore exactly are?

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 541063 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 11:47 AM

Something in that area is the source of that stink that's been around west beach for a few years. Only smelled when then wind is coming across sandspit to you. Rotting something or a sulfur gas seep. Was there a disgusting roadkill smell around?


 COMMENT 541067 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 11:52 AM

Methane gas bubbles have been known to sink ships. Not sure what they can do to a paddle board.


 COMMENT 541073 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 11:56 AM

Always wondered about the bubbles too... coming from some creatures in the sand I guess.

And the bad smell is from the dredge... it is covered in bird feces.


 COMMENT 541106 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 01:05 PM

Methane has no odor, if that is what this is. Roadkill or decomposition is closer to hydrogen sulfide which is detectable by smell in smaller non lethal concentrations but deadly when it can't be smelled.


 COMMENT 541107P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 01:05 PM

Hmmm Maybe we'll all find out years from now when a city-owned & unmaintained pipe bursts under the water. Shhh


 COMMENT 541112 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 01:16 PM

Clam farts


 COMMENT 541126 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 01:46 PM

Clearly clam farts.

When at UCSB I learned the sand was full of bacteria, algae and other life forms that can errrr fart.


 COMMENT 541139 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 02:16 PM

I've had a boat in the harbor for 32 years and the gas bubbles off the sandspit have been there for at least that long. It is my understanding that it is natural gas (methane, ethane and hydrogen sulfide mix) seepage.


 COMMENT 541227 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-07-31 06:59 PM

There are living organisms in the sand, that get layered with sand every storm into a sandwich of anaerobic decay.

From Wikipedia "Wetland methane emissions":

Most methanogenesis, or methane production, occurs in oxygen poor environments. Because the microbes that live in warm, moist environments consume oxygen more rapidly than it can diffuse in from the atmosphere, wetlands are the ideal anaerobic, or oxygen poor, environments for fermentation.


 COMMENT 541291P agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 08:20 AM

An old timer told me there was a sulfur hot springs there. He said before the sand spit existed, there was a kelp bed out there. As a kid, he would go out in a boat in the winter to the kelp bed and they'd hop in the water there because it was warm. He told me this in the early 80's, and he was closing in on 100 at the time.


 COMMENT 541389 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-01 01:50 PM

I think its just a spring


 COMMENT 541982 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-08-04 06:04 AM

May this be caused when the longshore drift comes around the breakwater depositing kelp which is covered by sand that decomposes in an anoxic environment creating gas that bubbles to the surface for all to enjoy.


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