A thick, chocolate-colored precipitate formed at the Great Salt Lake Marina in Utah, USA. However, representatives of the state park where the lake is located claim that oil pollution claims are unfounded.
According to Great Salt Lake City State Park, it is not oil floating on the lake’s surface, as the media suspected, but “trillions” of shrimp eggs, which are called cysts. The park is located northwest of Salt Lake City.
“Under certain conditions, these cysts come together and form a ‘spot,’” the park said on Facebook. “They will look like an oil slick in the water, but if you look closely, you can see thousands of eggs floating.”
The colder temperatures are forcing the shrimp to produce “dormant” eggs that are commercially “harvested as food for fish and commercially farmed shrimp,” the state said in a statement.
Great Salt Lake City Park has shared several photos of floating clusters of eggs, which, as they approach the shore, begin to resemble thick puddles of oil.
The 120 km long Great Salt Lake is “the largest lake west of the Mississippi River” and “one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world,” the state also said. Four rivers feed the reservoir, but the water has no outlet. Therefore, it remains until it evaporates. Sea shrimp is one of the few species that can live in such water, officials said, but even they cannot survive when it gets cold.
In the fall, shrimp lay trillions of eggs that float on the lake’s surface until spring, when the water is warm enough to hatch. The eggs are so small that 150 eggs will fit on a pinhead.