While flying over the Bahamas, have you ever wondered why the water is so turquoise? Many people believe that the color of water is blue, but; in reality, there is more science involved in the tint of the water. So, what kind of science is behind the deep turquoise Bahamian waters?

Everything in this world has a particular color, and that pigment of color becomes visible through light. An object can obtain its color based on the intensity of the light source. In most cases, it is the sun that illuminates its rays upon everything that we see – giving an object its color. But the sun isn’t entirely responsible for such brilliance. The object in which is being hit by the sun rays also plays a significant role. When light touches down on the surface of an object, specific wavelengths of light are absorbed and some of the wavelengths of light are reflected. For example, plants tend to absorb all the colors of the spectrum except green; that is why most plants appear to have this color.

The Sun & It’s Magnificent White Light

The sun alone sheds off all the wavelengths of light. These wavelengths are known as electromagnetic, which is this spectrum of light in which people can see. To us, the sun appears to look pure white. The whiteness is caused by the entire spectrum of lights clustered into one. One of the best ways to reveal the suns lights spectrum is through a prism. Below is an image that demonstrates the phenomena of the sun rays.

The picture above describes the visible light region of the electromagnetic spectrum.

This image above shows a demonstration of how a glass prism is able to split the white sunlight and reveal its full electromagnetic spectrum by passing through the glass prism.

But How Does This Work in Water?

Water acts as a prism. However, water has absorbing properties that tend to absorb specific wavelengths of light. Water can absorb all colors except for a couple.

Wavelength Color’s That are Absorbed by Water (H2O)

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • Indigo
  • Violet

However, there are two major wavelengths of light that aren’t absorbed. Those colors are Blue and Green. In fact, water acts as a reflector against Blue and Green, thus causing the water to appear in a turquoise color.

Other things in the water are present, which makes this anomaly a possibility. Algae and different green/blue colored plant life also reflect these wavelengths which ultimately increases the intensity of color that is present in the water. So, the next time when you visit the sandy beaches of the Bahamas, think about the science that causes this beautiful color of turquoise to shine vibrantly.