Oslo, Jan 5 : An estimated 20 tons of dead herring fish mysteriously washed up on the coast of Norway on New Year's Eve and then disappeared.
The fish remains turned up on Norway's northern coast and officials are still looking to explain just how and why they showed up.
"People say that something similar happened in the 80s," said local resident Jan-Petter Jorgensen, 44, who was walking his dog Molly when he made the discovery.
"Maybe the fish have been caught in a deprived oxygen environment, and then died of fresh water?" Jorgensen asked.
Maybe so. Other possible explanations are that the herring may have been driven ashore by predators or washed onto the shore by a powerful storm.
Jens Christian Holst of Norway's Institute of Marine Research told the AP that the great herring surge likely came about via a combination of factors.
Holst also said the institute will be testing some of the fish to make sure they did not die from disease.
Locals, meanwhile, had to ponder just what a seaside community does with 20 tons of dead fish. However, nature once more intervened, and the massive dead-herring haul vanished just as quickly as it seemed to have appeared. Holst says that coastal tidewaters most likely washed the fish remains back into the North Sea.
Regardless of how this most recent mystery pans out, one clear takeaway is that ocean-borne weather is fickle--and powerful.
Coastal weather storms have been known to carry living things from the ocean before dropping them along the coast.
A shower of nearly 1,000 apples that fell on an English town could well be related to ocean weather patterns.