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Nov
20
2013

The glow is gone: A glowing lake in Puerto Rico has mysteriously gone dark in the past week. Scientists are trying to figure out why the lake has changed its night time behavior.
The glow is gone: A glowing lake in Puerto Rico has mysteriously gone dark in the past week. Scientists are trying to figure out why the lake has changed its night time behavior.Courtesy Ocean Island Travel
For the past eight days, a glowing lake in Puerto Rico has gone dark, puzzling scientists and tourism officials alike.

Construction on a new sewage treatment plant nearby has stopped as researchers are trying to figure out why the Fajardo Grand Lagoon at the Nature Reserve of Las Cabezas de San Juan in Puerto Rico has suddenly lost its glow. The lake, informally referred to as a lagoon, has long been a popular tourist stop at night. Kayakers have been able to cruise the waters and see the glow of bioluminescent microorganisms in the water. The creatures give off a glow when disturbed by a passing paddle or waving hand.

While some worry run off from the treatment plant under construction might be the cause of the darkness, others point to recent rains and high winds creating waves on the lake. In the short term, researchers are hoping to minimize as many factors as possible to be able to zero in on the cause.

A local group also collects water samples from the lake three times a week to record data including temperature, salinity and precipitation. That data will also be analyzed in this current study.

The lake also went nearly dark for a short time in 2003, but had since rebounded to it's original levels of glow.

So what do you think is happening in the lake to make it go dark? Share your ideas with other Science Buzz readers in the comments section.