Monday, April 2, 2012

Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

This dead zone occurs in the gulf at the mouth of the Mississippi river. During the past 5 years, the dead zone has averaged about 5,800 square miles and has predicted to exceed 9,400 square miles this year, which would make it one of the largest ever recorded. (according to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium). The reason why it is such a large hypoxia area is because 41% of the United States drains into the Mississippi river, than into the gulf. There are mostly farms that boarder the Mississippi, which dump their waste such as pesticides and fertilizers, into the rivers. There are also many cities that dump things such as their sewage into the river as well. These discharges have a high level of nitrogen and phosphorus which causes large phytoplankton to bloom. Previous researchers have shown that nitrogen levels in the Gulf related to human activity have tripled over the past 50 years.

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