At 7:34 a.m. on July 11, 2009, the residents of La Jolla, California, were
rattled awake by a 4.0 magnitude earthquake. One hour later, however, things got weird. Dozens of jumbo squid, also called Humboldt squid, washed up on shore, flapping helplessly. How did these large creatures, which can grow up to 7 feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds, appear all of a sudden? Was it caused by the earthquake? Not so,
claimed squid expert William Gilly of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, because people had found beached squid three days earlier. Since it’s unlikely that the squid would be affected by an earthquake’s seismic waves, scientists believe that the beached creatures were caused either by rapidly changing water temperatures, which could prove confusing, or the ingestion of a toxin called domoic acid that’s produced by ocean plankton.