The mystery of the puzzling orange goo that swept up on a remote Alaskan village has finally been solved - at least in part. Scientists have identified the orange substance as millions of microscopic eggs filled with fatty droplets.
But what species do these microscopic eggs come from?
Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at Auke Bay in Juneau said Monday that they're not quite sure. Their best guess is that they are some kind of crustacean eggs or embryos.
The team took samples of the strange orange material found floating in the harbor, beaches, buckets set out to collect rainwater, and even a river 150 miles away.
"We now think these are some sort of small crustacean egg or embryo, with a lipid oil droplet in the middle causing the orange color," said Jeep Rice, a lead scientist at the lab. Jeep added that it was easy to identify the substance as "animal."
"So this is natural. It is not chemical pollution; it is not a man-made substance," Jeep confirmed.
While the scientists can conclude that the substance does not portend some new sign of climate disaster or industrial mayhem, they don't know just yet if the eggs are toxic - and that's worrying many of the 374 residents of Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo community located in Alaska's remote northwest coast.
Residents of the town, located at the tip of an 8-mile barrier reef, reported dead minnows in the lagoon when the orange-colored eggs mysteriously arrived last week.
Though the "orange goo" has mostly dissipated, residents are concerned about the community's dwindling reserves in the village water tanks.
"It seems to be all gone," city administrator Janet Mitchell told Fox News. "But if they're microscopic eggs, who's to say they're not still in the river?"
Because the goo turned powdery once it dried, residents are concerned that it may have gone airborne and contaminated their crops.
No one in the village can remember witnessing such a phenomenon before and scientists don't have a clue why the unidentified eggs washed up on the shores of Kivalina.
NOAA spokeswoman Julie Speegle said;
"We'll probably find some clues, but we'll likely never have a definitive answer on that."