Blood Red Waters Send Swimmers Scurrying in Australia

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SYDNEY — Waters off the coast of Sydney along the world-famous Bondi Beach turned red this week, causing concern among beach-goers.

A huge algae bloom transformed the sea from its usual blue-green color to pinkish-red. Although rare, the phenomenon is actually known as noctiluca scintillans, or sea sparkle and is not highly toxic to humans. However, high levels of ammonia in the algae can cause skin rashes and eye irritation.

The exact cause is not determined, but algae blooms tend to form in hot and humid weather — and Australia is about to enter their summer season with current temperatures in the 80s and 90s.

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