Move Over Molasses: The 5 Weirdest Spills

blackstrap molasses
Hundreds of thousands of gallons of molasses spilled in Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii, last week. (Image credit: <a href="">Mona Makela</a> | <a href="">Shutterstock</a>)

A molasses pipeline in Honolulu Harbor, Hawaii, last week was pumping the syrupy substance onto a ship when it sprung a leak, dumping hundreds of thousands of gallons of the goo into the ocean. The sugary fluid, which has sunk to the bottom, has killed thousands of fish, attracting sharks and other scavengers.

The Hawaii spill is not the first molasses mishap. A truck in Wagontire, Ore., swerved to avoid a deer in 2008, spilling hundreds of gallons of molasses over the highway. And in 1919, during the Boston Molasses Disaster, a tank carrying 2.5 million gallons of molasses burst, flooding the city's streets and killing 21 people.

Besides molasses, some strange substances have spilled into waterways and onto roadways. Here are some of the highlights.

1. Whale guts

In 2004, a whale carcass exploded while being transported from a beach where it died to a laboratory in the Taiwanese city of Tainan, according to BBC News. Gas buildup inside the decomposing cetacean was thought to be responsible for the explosion, which took 13 hours and 50 workers to clean up. [Gulf Oil Spill: 12 Animals at Risk]

2. Rubber ducks

In 1992, 29,000 rubber duck toys, being shipped from China to the U.S. company The First Years Inc, washed overboard in the Pacific Ocean, the Daily Mail reported. Some 10,000 of the duckies floated northward, while the remainder took a southerly route. They have washed up in Hawaii, Australia and even the Arctic.

3. Fake — and real — blood

A truck carrying 8,000 gallons (more than 30,000 liters) of a Japanese synthetic blood drink, inspired by the HBO series "True Blood," caused a gory mess when it hit a curb and crashed in Sugar Land, Texas, in 2008, Web Urbanist reported. The year before, in Oregon, 4,000 gallons (more than 15,000 liters) of real pig blood spilled from a truck carting animal waste from a processing plant.

4. Honeybees

In the past few years, honeybees have spilled onto highways in Montana, Canada and California, where 10 million to 16 million angry buzzers responded by stinging firefighters, police and drivers. Honeybee hives are regularly shipped to farms around the country to pollinate crops, since colony collapse disorder has decimated local bee populations.

5. Money

While it may not grow on trees, money has flooded public streets on multiple occasions. In 2004, an armored truck crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike, spilling $2 million in coins, Mental Floss reported. In 2005, another truck caught fire in Alabama, spilling $800,000 in quarters. And in 2008, a driver on his way to the Miami Federal Reserve fatally crashed, spewing $185,000 in nickels.

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Staff Writer
Tanya was a staff writer for Live Science from 2013 to 2015, covering a wide array of topics, ranging from neuroscience to robotics to strange/cute animals. She received a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a bachelor of science in biomedical engineering from Brown University. She has previously written for Science News, Wired, The Santa Cruz Sentinel, the radio show Big Picture Science and other places. Tanya has lived on a tropical island, witnessed volcanic eruptions and flown in zero gravity (without losing her lunch!). To find out what her latest project is, you can visit her website.