What would you think if you looked out the window and saw the ground covered as far as you could see with a strange white foam? What would you think if you took your dog for a walk in the park and the ground beneath your feet and your dog’s paws suddenly began to jiggle like a bowl full of jelly? These events happened this week in Santa Clara, California, (foam) and Aberdeen, Scotland, (jelly – that’s gelatin for us Americans) and had residents baffled and fearful.
According to eyewitnesses and TV reports, the strange foam appeared quickly at about 11:30 am on November 18th. It appeared to start on Martin Avenue in northeast Santa Clara near San Jose. Witnesses say the foam quickly covered a number of street and an entire parking lot and was deep enough to completely cover street signs. Yikes!
The police were called and bravely followed the foam to its source – an airport hangar at the Mineta San José International Airport run by Signature Flight Support, a jet service company. The foam was from a fire-suppression system that began spewing due to a malfunction and not a fire. San Jose fire officials showed up anyway and managed to stop the foam and clean it up in two hours.
Was anyone in danger? A viral video showed a man riding a bicycle through the foam until he was covered from head to tires – not a wise move since the fire-suppression form contains a known carcinogen. At least now he can get close to his barbecue without worry.
This phenomena is rare but when it occurs its normally occurs in parks, golf courses or lawns, where the turf is not so well bound to the underlying soil.
Professor John Howel, a geoscientist from the University of Aberdeen, was asked to inspect the trampoline turf and determined that it was a not the result of the Earth melting due to climate change but was caused by the ground beneath the grass becoming flooded from a broken water pipe. The layer of sod on top was thick enough to form a bladder like a water bed and give park visitors an amusement park funhouse thrill.
Fortunately, officials from Scottish Water, the local water company, rushed to the scene and rescued … the football pitches (that’s soccer fields for us Americans).
Scottish Water staff attended the football pitches beside Hazlehead Park as soon as they were made aware of a potential issue in the area.
A spokesperson said they also cordoned off the area where walkers and dogs bounced until the land dries out and the ground is solid again.
The dogs thank you.