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Dead zone in the Gulf one of the largest ever

4 years ago August 02, 2010 Aug 2, 2010 Monday, August 02 2010 Monday, August 02, 2010 9:26:25 AM CDT in News
Source: Associated Press

Scientists say this year that the "dead zone" area that forms every summer in the Gulf of Mexico is one of the largest ever measured.

The large area of low oxygen that chokes marine life comes in addition to the massive BP oil spill.

Microbes that eat the oil can deplete oxygen in the water. But the researchers who measure the dead zone couldn't say there is a connection between the spill and the dead zone's size.

They say the dead zone is roughly the size of Massachusetts, or at least 7,722 square miles. The largest ever measured was just over 8,000 square miles in 2001.

The dead zone forms every year when bacteria feeds on algae blooms and uses up oxygen. The blooms are caused by the nutrient-rich waters from rivers that carry farm and urban runoff into the Gulf.

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