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Massive school of anchovies swarms off La Jolla

School of anchovies near La Jolla is largest in three decades
'It's like watching the motion of a lava lamp,' Scripps official says of massive school of anchovies

A massive school of Northern anchovies could be seen migrating off the coast of La Jolla on Tuesday afternoon, baffling scientists who said they haven't seen anything like it in more than 30 years.

Video of the school shows the fish swimming with graduate students from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and a leopard shark.

A large crowd formed at the Scripps pier around mid-morning to watch the anchovies, said Robert Monroe, a communications officer with Scripps.

Monroe ran down to the pier with a GoPro camera, initially thinking it was a red tide.

"It was remarkable. From a distance it looked like an oil slick and you think 'What happened?' and then you get up close and it's amazing," he said. "It's like watching the motion of a lava lamp."

Once he got down to the pier, he threw the camera to three grad students already in the water with the fish. 

He said scientists didn't have an estimate on how many fish were in the school. Members of the Scripps Marine Vertebrate Collection have collected samples to be studied, Scripps said in a news release. 

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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