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Scientific Information



What makes the Luminous Lagoon glow? How does this phenomenon happen? What exactly causes the light that I see? How is this even possible? How long has this been occurring for? What is the source of it? Is this rare to see? Is this real? Is this natural? Where else is this experienced? The list of questions when people see this truly goes on and on… in Jamaica, they say, “Once you go, then you’ll know”.

We hear a lot of questions as you might expect about how the Luminous Lagoon at Glistening Waters glows and what exactly causes this effect. Here we break down some actual science, information and reasoning behind it, to help you better understand this unusual event.

From information given by scientists from the John Hopkins University, the eerie glow comes from small micro-organisms that emit a flash of light when disturbed. Jamaica’s Luminous Lagoon is one of many places around the globe that experience this type of event regularly. These microscopic organisms live and create this natural ocean phenomenon, know as bio-luminescence. It’s said that out of the many places this is seen in the world, Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica is one of the brightest – a fact that has and continues to awe scientists and visitors alike.

The Luminous Lagoon stretches along the marshlands from the small community of Rock to the town of Falmouth, in the Trelawny Parish. Over the years, scientists from around the world have come to the Luminous Lagoon to investigate and research this phenomenon. Their studies show that the bay is one of the best places to see these microscopic organisms, called dinoflagellates or pryodinium bahamene, because of two reasons. First, there are literally millions of these tiny micro-organisms living in the lagoon. Second, the lagoon is formed at the point where the Martha Brae River meets the Caribbean Sea, and the dinoflagellates thrive in the layers where the salt and fresh waters combine into brackish waters. These micro-organisms glow brightest in the shallow, warm water, and the overall depth of the lagoon is generally about 3-8 feet, or more, but not very deep at all.

Come and experience a natural wonder of the world at Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon in Jamaica! Our experienced captains will explain and answer all of the questions you’ll have when you witness this in person on our daily night-time tours. Bring a towel, take a swim and illuminate yourself within the Luminous Lagoon. You’ll be glad you made the trip to experience Glistening Waters!

Glistening Waters Luminous Lagoon Science

Fast Facts about Jamaica
Population 2,889,187 (July 2012 est)
Area 4,244 sq mi
Time zone Caribbean: UTC-5
Currency Jamaican Dollar (JMD)
Languages English & Jamaican Patois
Capital Kingston (also largest city)

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