Phosphorous at Vaadhoo, a beach on one of the Raa Atoll islands in the Maldives
How is the phosphorous glow created?
The phosphorous glow is a natural phenomenon created when bioluminescent bacteria, blooming red algae also known as red tide, mixes with oxygen. It was stirred up by the hull of the Ashmore. The passengers on board saw phosphorous along the hull and in the wake of the ship at night. The doctor wrote about it in his diary.
It is not to be confused with phosphorus, the mineral needed for our bodies to repair tissues and cells and filter waste. There are many other organisms in the sea that glow, mainly creatures that live in depths where light from the surface does not penetrate. Fireflies also known as lightning bugs, use this similar ‘glow’ to attract prey or mates.
Below is a spectacular example of this phenomenon.
Bioluminescence Surfing - Oceanside Pier, California
Video: Xtreme Video