Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 107: Sep-Oct 1996

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Horizon-to-Horizon Bioluminescent Bubbling Band

June 5, 1995. East China Sea. Aboard the m.v. Tokyo Bay enroute Busan to Kaohsiung.

"At 1830 UTC whilst the ship was on a course of 218 at 21.5 knots, what seemed to be hundreds of fishing lights were seen right ahead of the ship and stretching from horizon to horizon. As the ship approached them, it became apparent that the lights were bioluminescence.
"The appearance was like large single 'blobs' approximately the size of tennis balls, while at the main concentration the water seemed to be 'bubbling up' in a line stretching to both horizons. When the ship passed through the line, the luminescence gave off such a glare, as bright as daylight, that it was possible to read the identification numbers of the containers on the focsle. The duration of the phenomenon was about 5 minutes or 1.5 n.mile."

(Hughan, D.S.; "Bioluminescence," Marine Observer, 66:62, 1996)

Comment. P.J. Herring, Southampton Oceanography Centre, called this display "a most unusual account which I am unable to interpret." He opined that the blobs were probably cylindrical colonies of luminous sea squirts, but he could not account for the 1.5-milewide, horizon-to-horizon bright glare and associated bubbling.

Reference. For more on bioluminescent anomalies, see Chapter GLW in our catalog: Lightning, Auroras. Ordering information here.

From Science Frontiers #107, SEP-OCT 1996. 1996-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987