Why Red Sea Is Red? (Color/Name Explanation)

Red Sea

The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia. The Red Sea is 355 kilometers or 220 points, six miles wide at its widest point. Oceans and seas have various names, but one of the sea’s names, the Red Sea, has a reason behind it: red? The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean between Africa and Asia.

Why is the red sea red?

Sea has a different color that depends on the environment and internal factors. Water has no color, and every color we see is an illusion. Scientists discover the color varieties and give specific reasons. The red sea is not red. There are 3 reasons for the red color.

  • For bacteria.
  • For algae.
  • By scattering.

By bacteria

The Red Sea is a tropical sea with coral reefs in a huge amount. No rivers connect this sea, a highly salty sea with an average of 40% salinity. That means around 40 grams of salt in 1 kg of water. The Red Sea contains cyanobacteria named Trichodesmium erythraeum. These bacteria do photosynthesis and turn the Red Sea from bluish to red. They are also called “sea sawdust” because they form a reddish color and are abundant in the Red Sea.

We can see bacterium through the naked eye because they live in colonies or individual filaments where hundreds of cells are bound together. What makes these bacteria turn red is unknown and still under research. Phycobilin pigments may be phycoerythrin and phycocyanin for red and blue pigments.

These pigments may be the cause of Trichodesmium erythraeum. To sum it up, the Red Sea contains a bacterium named Trichodesmium erythraeum, which gives it a reddish color. They are photoautotrophic, which means they depend on photosynthesis to make food.

Same way, the black sea has a depth of over 150 meters, and its deepest layers have only sulfur bacteria, which produce hydrogen sulfide gas. It decomposes the dead organic matter of the sea and gives it a composted blackish color. The White Sea is white because it is covered in ice for 6-7 months each year. The Yellow Sea is named Yellow because it carries silt from the upper plains, giving it a brownish yellow color.

By algae

Algal blooms deplete the water’s oxygen, discolor the waves and release toxins into the water. They aren’t plants but a diverse set of organisms that can photosynthesize. This means they use sunlight energy to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar. They can be single-celled or multicellular. The rapid accumulation of a mass of aquatic Algae made up of mobile single-celled microorganisms known as dinoflagellates.

It means wheeling due to the nature of the tail-like projections that propel them through the water. The algae grow or bloom more rapidly than usual to consume nutrients that have suddenly risen from the colder depth of the ocean below. The red hue is down to the presence of a particular species of dinoflagellate or phytoplankton.

With the more abundant diatom algae, dinoflagellates make up most of the ocean plankton. Despite the rather startling appearance of a sea turned red, many algal blooms are entirely harmless.

However, you shouldn’t consume seafood following a red site a specific fleet of plankton can release harmful substances into the water. Some dinoflagellates can produce toxins when eaten by other creatures. The harmful substances then concentrate inside the creatures that feed on them. The billions of microscopic dinoflagellates create the red tide. That can also cause spectacular bioluminescence at night.

One species, the linguLoDinium polyedrum, can create its light. A chemical reaction occurs when the organism collides with something in the ocean. When an enzyme is called luciferase, the substance is called luciferin. Both are contained within the organism combined. This catalyst for a chemical reaction releases blue and red light flashes.

By scattering

Sunlight reaches the sea and mixes with water molecules, plankton, etc. Since the light waves are tiny, the light waves will interact with even the smallest molecules in the water and begin to bounce off. This bouncing process is called scattering. Also, it depends on how large the molecule is compared to the wavelength size and small particles.

Their wavelength will scratch a red light more scatter than blue light of the sea’s internal environment. The other colors, like blue, will absorb water, and only red will scatter. So the red will scatter sunlight in more directions than the blue, which creates red color in the red sea.


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Julia Rose

My name is Julia Rose. I'm a registered clinical therapist, researcher, and coach. I'm the author of this blog. There are also two authors: Dr. Monica Ciagne, a registered psychologist and motivational coach, and Douglas Jones, a university lecturer & science researcher. I would love to hear your opinion, question, suggestions, please let me know. We will try to help you.

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