|MadSci Network: Earth Sciences|
Hi Shannon, Firstly, let me say that you have demonstrated good scientific practice by formulating a theory (an organism is responsible) and then seeking to prove or disprove it (digging down to see if there was one). That's probably one of the theories I would have come up with too. Assuming that there was no organism releasing bubbles of air or expelling water from it's body then I think we are left with one other theory. My theory is that the storm caused increased wave height and power. These powerful waves dumped the sand into the "shelf" formation that you described. Due to the speed of this dumping the sand may not have had time to settle leaving air pockets in the formation. As the tide rose, water seeped through the sand and filled the air pockets forcing the air out and resulting in your bubbles. I can't say for sure that this was the cause but in the world of science we rarely can. What do you think of my theory? All the best, Peter Admin note:
I'm not a geohydrologist, but it's possible that the water you saw bubbling up was a freshwater spring. The way to test that would be to look at where the water enters the ocean - if it's freshwater mixing with the saltwater, you will see wavy lines as they mix (they're called schlieren lines, by the way). The other test is the old "lick your finger test" - if it tastes salty, it's probably salt water bubbling back through the sand, if it tastes fresh, it's probably a spring.
Rob Campbell, MADSCI moderator
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