Residents of Kivalina, an Inupiat Eskimo village of about 430 people, found the substance in its lagoon — giving the lagoon an orange sheen — and clumps of the orange stuff on the beach. A resident who took pictures of the substance, Mida Swan, said last week that it had an oily feel, like baby oil.
Some residents said they also saw the substance in their rainwater-collection buckets after a Wednesday evening rain. No one knew what it was, the state Department of Environmental Conservation was notified and samples were sent to several labs.
The mysterious substance turned out to be not a sign of the end of the world but the eggs of some crustacean.