This is why there is so much sea foam on Roker Beach in Sunderland
Visitors to Sunderland’s seafront might have caught sight of something strange.
Large swathes of sea foam has been spotted on the sand at Roker as the region was battered with a huge downpour.
But while the frothy substance should be nothing to worry about, the Environment Agency has offered an explanation about how it is created,
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “Sea foam is usually naturally occurring, created when seawater is agitated or churned up by strong winds and wave action.
“In this case, the foam has the appearance of naturally-occurring foam, however if anyone sees foam which appears or smells like it may have been caused from a man-made pollutant, please report it to our incident hotline on 0800 807060 so we can investigate.”
The Met Office has reported the Sunderland coastline has faced south east winds in combination with heavy rainfall in recent days, which could have helped generate the piles of foam.
Sea foam is created in conditions where water contains particularly higher concentrations of dissolved organic matter, which can include proteins, ligins, which can be found in plants and some algaes, and lipids, which can include fats, oils or wax which can be dissolved in alcohol but not in water.
These can act as foaming agents as the seawater is churned up by breaking waves on the shore, which then traps air and forms bubbles, with the wind blowing it in towards land.