What is Sea Foam and how it is Formed?

Sea foam is a natural phenomenon of the ocean which involves formation of white lathery substance which floats on the surface of water and gets accumulated at the sea shores. The formation of sea foam is seen in several parts of the world and continues to intrigue people even today.



The coast of Yamba, located in the South-east Australian state of New South Wales, is well-known across the world for the natural phenomenon of sea foam. This phenomenon has put the town of Yamba in the global map attracting tourists and enthusiasts from all over – not just from other parts of Australia but also from other countries.

The formation of foam on the sea in the coast of Yamba however is just one example of sea foam being formed. The phenomena is not native to one place or location and can be formed anywhere in the world.


How is Sea Foam Formed?

The question of ‘how is sea foam formed?’ is the first that comes to people’s mind. The answer to this question would be that a multitude of aspects are involved while trying to unravel the intrigue behind this natural phenomenon.

To start with, there are two kinds of sea foams that can be formed – the White Sea foam and the Red or brown coloured foam.

The latter, sometimes referred to as the ‘Red Tide’ is caused by the presence of waste products created by human activities. Certain researchers also add that the presence of single-celled alga – phytoplankton – can cause the foam to take the reddish or brownish hue. Foam on the sea excluding these causes is white in tinge.

  • Decomposing or decomposed materials from the seas like plants, animals and excreta are churned by the continuous movement of the tides and form cloistered bubbles of air, are retained beneath the sea-waves and are whipped towards the sea-shore because of the pull of the currents. These waves are frothy and when they crash against the shore, the froth at the top is left behind which causes the foam effect

  • Alternatively, single-celled alga which are powdered finely are regarded to be the causation of the white sea foam forming as their powdery substance emanates sea foamforming protein which in-turn results in the formation of foam
  • Chemical waste discharges by industries and sewerage into the oceans and seas also cause such foam to be formed on the sea


Dangers Because of Sea Foam

The presence of foam is quite dangerous as it contains noxious substances which could harm not only the local population but also the birds and other creatures. This could result in health problems and also problems pertaining to presence of other harmful creatures which could hide in this froth and cause irreparable damage to the natives.

Even while an intriguing phenomena, the foam on the sea is an indication of the larger problems that could be caused to the populace living near the sea-shore. In the better interests of these people and for birds that can be saved, while natural foam causing agents cannot be nullified or eliminated, the man-made causing agents can very well be brought into control.


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innovateus , wisegeek , english.ohmynews

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