A Dead Zone the Size of New Jersey Is Growing in the Gulf of Mexico

deadzoneEvery year, a massive "dead zone" blooms in the Gulf of Mexico. Inside its amorphous boundaries almost all life is extinguished. There's simply not enough oxygen for marine creatures to survive.

The phenomenon is caused by what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls "excessive nutrient pollution"—a surplus of nitrate-heavy fertilizer runoff produced by agricultural operations along the Mississippi River. That runoff bleeds out from farms and ranches across the south into the nation's mightiest—and dirtiest—river, and eventually winds its way into the Gulf. (more…)