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June 12, 2019 - National Geographic

Massive 8,000-mile 'dead zone' could be one of the gulf of Mexico's largest

Massive 8,000-mile 'dead zone' could be one of the gulf of Mexico's largest
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Dead zones are not unique to the Gulf of the Mexico, though the gulf's is estimated to be the world's second largest. In the world's largest dead zone, in the Baltic Sea, low oxygen devastated fisheries, and most marine animals can no longer survive there.

Annual spring rains wash the nutrients used in fertilizers and sewage into the Mississippi. That fresh water, less dense than ocean water, sits on top of the ocean, preventing oxygen from mixing through the water column. Eventually those freshwater nutrients can spur a burst of algal growth, which consumes oxygen as the plants decompose.

The resulting patch of low-oxygen waters leads to a condition called hypoxia, where animals in the area suffocate and die. Scientists estimate that this year the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico will spread for just over or just under 8,000 square miles across the continental shelf situated off the coast.

Read more at National Geographic


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