Parts of the Black Sea and Bosphorus Strait have turned a swirling, brilliant turquoise.
According to NASA, which captured an aerial image of the phenomenon with its Aqua satellite on May 29, the cause is an ongoing bloom of phytoplankton.
The microscopic creatures make their own food from sunlight and dissolved nutrients in the water. At certain times, their populations explode in number, creating a bloom that can transform the water.
The current bloom in the Bosphorus (the waterway that runs through Istanbul, separating Europe and Asia) is a particularly bright one, according to Norman Kuring, an ocean scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. However, it is consistent with phytoplankton activity normally seen in May and June.
Take a look.
When Istanbul residents noticed the bloom, some were concerned that pollution or an earthquake caused the transformation, according to reports.
Normally, the waters of the Bosphorus are a deep blue.
But NASA explains that the change in color is caused by a population of phytoplankton that are covered in white calcium carbonate plates.