An oceanographer has explained the reason for the formation of the “Milk Sea” (牛奶海) — an ocean area off the coast of Yilan County that has become a tourist hotspot because of its milk-colored water.
The Milk Sea near Turtle Island (Gueishan Island, 龜山島) is caused by the combination of seawater and a saltwater hot spring, Lin Yu-shih (林玉詩), an associate professor at National Sun Yat-sen University’s Department of Oceanography, said in an article posted on Facebook by the Oceanographic Society on Tuesday last week.
Researchers found that the Milk Sea contains particular bacteria that efficiently facilitate carbon fixation, a process in which the sulfur from hot spring water reacts with oxygen, forming a special hydrothermal ecosystem, Lin said.
Photo: Chang Yi-chen, Taipei Times
Compared with seawater’s pH of 8, the Milk Sea only has a pH of 6, slightly more than buttermilk, she said, adding that hot spring water in the region can even have a pH as low as 1.5.
“Soaking in the [Milk Sea] for a prolonged period could have an effect similar to a chemical peel,” she added.
Although “sourer,” the Milk Sea has coral, because hot spring water is mixed with seawater as it gradually rises, she said, adding that water below the white-colored surface is actually no different from regular seawater.
The Milk Sea has complex waves and currents that befuddle even fishermen, and an instantaneous flow rate of up to 70cm, so after some time in the water, it is possible for people to inadvertently drift to the Japanese island of Ishigaki, she said.
Tidal vortexes in the area mean the milk-colored water circulates only within a certain range, occasionally creating some beautiful patterns, she said.
In 2000, a research team found a 2m hydrothermal vent on the seafloor of the area that discharged an extremely large quantity of geothermal water, but the vent has since been buried by falling rocks, she said.
Rock falls, landslides, as well as changing tides, currents and hydrothermal vents are factors contributing to the changing boundaries of the Milk Sea as observed every year, she said.
As Turtle Island is an active volcano, people need not worry that the Milk Sea will disappear if more hydrothermal vents in the area are buried by falling rocks, because new vents are being created by the continuous magmatic activity there, she said.
A study published by online booking platform Expedia revealed searches for travel to Taipei have ballooned 2,786 percent following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions due to the city being a “designation dupe” for Seoul. The TikTok trend for duping — referring to substituting a designation for a more inexpensive alternative — helped propel interest in Taipei, it said in a consumer survey titled “Unpack ‘24,” which was conducted from September to October in 14 countries. Location dupes are “every bit as delightful as the tried-and-true places travelers love,” Expedia trend tracker Melanie Fish said of the year’s popular alternatives, which
SAFETY IN REGULATION: The proposal states that Chiayi should assess whether it is viable to establish such a district and draft rules to protect clients and sex workers The Chiayi City Council passed a motion yesterday to assess the viability of establishing a regulated red-light district. The council yesterday held its last session of the year, at which its fiscal 2024 budget was approved, along with 61 other proposals. The proposal to assess the viability of establishing a red-light district was put forward by independent Chiayi City Councilor Molly Yen (顏色不分藍綠支持性專區顏色田慎節). The proposal cited 2011 amendments to the Social Order Maintenance Act (社會秩序維護法), which stipulate that city and county governments can pass autonomous regulations on the sex trade to manage the industry and guarantee industry workers’ rights. A ban on the
A small-scale protest that called on the government to cancel its plan to welcome Indian migrant workers in a bid to tackle Taiwan’s labor shortage was held in Taipei yesterday. During the protest, comprised of a few dozen people staged in front of the Presidential Office on Ketagalan Boulevard, the protest’s chief initiator, a woman identified only as “Yuna” said they wanted the central government to reconsider allowing migrant workers from India to enter Taiwan. Most people in Taiwan had little knowledge about the potential plan to allow in Indian migrant workers until a report in the media last month, she
STABILITY AND CHANGE: Flagging in recent polls, Ko this week pledged to maintain President Tsai’s foreign policy, with an emphasis on improving China relations Taiwan People’s Party (TPP) Chairman and presidential candidate Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) yesterday reiterated that he is “deep-green at heart” in response to accusations that he is pivoting his campaign to align closer with the ideology of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in the face of flagging polls. Ko made the remark at an agricultural policy conference in Taipei, repeating his comments from an interview with CTS News a day earlier. Ko told the CTS host that he would continue to pursue President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) national defense and foreign policy in general, but with an emphasis on establishing a rapport with