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Look at This: A Valley Painted Red with Algae

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By Sophie Bushwick
Jul 25, 2012 7:16 PMNov 20, 2019 4:43 AM

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Carved into the northern slopes of China’s Mount Gongga, the Yaijiageng river valley looks like the site of a massive paint spill. But the red is actually all-natural: it is a massive bloom of a newly discovered variety of algae

. The alga belongs to the species Trentepohlia jolithus

, which is capable of growing on rocks and tree trunks. This yajiagengensis variety, named after the river valley where it originates, only grows on local exposed rock---and with debris and human activities blocking and rerouting the flow of the Yajiageng river in recent years, a lot more stone has become exposed. The alga’s spread has turned the location into a tourist attraction with the nickname “Red-Stone-Valley.” [via New Scientist

] Image courtesy of Guoxiang Liu

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