Scientists: Surprisingly small 'dead zone' off Louisiana
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Scientists say this year's Gulf of Mexico "dead zone" is surprisingly small but the oxygen-depleted water rose higher toward the surface than usual.
Tuesday's report describes the fourth-smallest area ever measured where water at and above the sea floor off Louisiana holds too little oxygen to support marine life. Nancy Rabalais, with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, began annual measurements in 1985. She says it's the world's second-largest human-caused dead zone, behind only the Baltic Sea.
Scientists had predicted an average-sized area this year. Rabalais says winds over shallow areas probably mixed oxygen into water, while other winds squeezed oxygen-poor water into narrower confines. The dead zone covers about 2,720 square miles (7,040 square kilometers), rising in some areas about two-thirds of the way to the surface.