A photo of a giant squid on the California coast is nothing but a hoax. The photo went viral after it was posted online with an article describing its origin. The article claims the squid grew uncontrollably due to radiation from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
Although the Lightly Braised Turnip website is obviously meant to be satire, the photo and information went viral on several social media sites, including Facebook. However, the photo was quite obviously altered.
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake and the resulting tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant in Japan. As a result, radioactive material leaked out of the plant and contaminated the surrounding area. Although some of the material likely reached the Pacific Ocean, the extent of the contamination is unknown.
Radioactive material is certainly a concern, as it is a potential threat to our ecosystem and personal health. The satire website took advantage of that fear and the recent discovery of an oarfish along the California coast.
The website's first mistake was exaggerating the size of the oarfish. Although the fish was truly rare, it was not 100 feet long as they suggest. As reported by CBS News, the fish was actually closer to 20 feet long, which is within the normal range for an oarfish.
In the article, the giant squid is described as 160 feet long. Its immense size is blamed on a genetic mutation, which is labeled as "radioactive gigantism." The article continues, citing numerous scientists who reportedly verify the possibility.
One "expert" discusses the possibility of "tuna fish that could feed a city the size of Austin, Texas." Another suggests sharks could become "the size of a Manhattan skyscraper."
As these mutant creatures could wreak havoc, the article also suggests the US Coast Guard issued a warning along the central and southern coasts of California. The alerts are reportedly in place to warn residents to "use caution" when visiting the beach.
The giant squid photo used on the hoax website was taken from an actual event that occurred last year. In October, a giant squid did in fact wash up on a Spanish beach. According to Live Science, the squid was rare and quite large. However, it is not a monster, it is not radioactive, and it does not suffer from "radioactive gigantism."
The giant squid was closer to 30 feet long and weighed around 400 pounds, which is not unusual. The Spanish squid was transported to the Maritime Museum of Cantabria for further study. However, photos of the squid are obviously still making the rounds.