On the shores of the Texas Gulf Shore beaches, sand hills resembling miniature volcanoes have popped up, with staff members explaining that the hills play a vital purpose in the ocean’s ecosystem.
The staff at Quintana County Park in Houston, located about 70 miles south, posted footage on Sunday of the small sand hills with a hole near the top. They explained the purpose of these strange hills.
The staff said that mini-volcanoes were caused by “extremely low water levels this morning”, and ghost shrimp.
Staff wrote: “We experienced an extremely low tide in the morning and ghost shrimps are creating mini-volcanoes on the beach.”
Quintana Beach County Park employees say that the small crustaceans can be seen most often at the water’s edges, digging down into the sediments of the seafloor and grabbing food. The crustaceans are between 3 and 4 inches in length, and they can dig up to four feet deep.
Staff at the beaches said that shrimp are an important component of the intertidal ecosystem because they “drive air into the sand.”
Staff said that they are an important component of intertidal ecosystems because they bring oxygen to the sand when they burrow, which aids in the decomposition of organic matter, enriching sediment and providing food for other creatures.