• Staff

Southern California’s Glow-in-the-Dark Bioluminescent Waves Light Up Solana Beach - San Diego

Updated: Apr 30

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


The red tide has returned to Southern California beaches from San Diego to the South Bay (Los Angeles) giving local spectators a stunning natural light show of electric blue, bioluminescent waves over the weekend.


Photo by: Shane Albrent, Solana Beach - San Diego, California, on Monday, April 27, 2020

Photographer Shane Albrent captured breathtaking images of the glow-in-the-dark phenomena near Solana Beach in San Diego, California, on Monday night (April 27) around 9pm.


Photo by: Shane Albrent of Solana Beach's electric blue bioluminescent waves, San Diego, California, on Monday, April 27, 2020

The glow is ignited by a chemical reaction of phytoplankton which glows with movement of water. Colors range from fluorescent green to neon blue. During the day the red tide turns water a brown, rust or red hue. The tide can last a few days or even weeks and usually takes place in California between early spring (February, March) and late summer.


The water discoloration is caused by a “bloom” of rapidly reproduced, microscopic, single-celled plants called phytoplankton which occur naturally in our coastal waters. A particular group of phytoplankton produces the red tide called dinoflagellates.


While beautiful and enticing, the red tide can sometimes prove to be toxic. SoCal’s tide is not considered harmful to humans, although its presence depletes oxygen in the waters and may cause illness to sea-life.


The summer-like weather has thousands of people flocking to open beaches from Ventura County to the O.C. despite statewide stay-at-home orders implemented by the governor last month amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Beaches in the City of San Diego were reopened Monday (April 27) at sunrise.