Does The Mississippi River Flow Into The Gulf Of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

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The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

The Gulf of Mexico has seen better days. We all know about the massive oil spill caused by the explosion of the oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, on April 20, 2010. It took them 3 months to finally cap the well, but by then the damage was done. This is to date the absolute worst oil spill we have ever experienced.

But to make matters worse, the Gulf of Mexico has had many other “problems” for years. One of the biggest is the fact that there is a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico…and it is growing. Now you’re probably wondering, “What is a dead zone?” The dead zone is any area in the water where the supply of oxygen has been depleted. When this happens, the water is said to be hypoxic. If there is not enough oxygen, then plant life (such as algae) cannot grow. If there is no algae in the area, then much of the marine life has nothing to eat. This marine life will either starve and die, or if they can, they will flee the area and try to find a better place to live.

Water becomes depleted of oxygen when there is too much nitrogen and phosphorus in it. The reason the Gulf of Mexico is so vulnerable to this problem is the Mississippi River. The mouth of the Mississippi opens into the Gulf – and boy, is it a big mouth!

Starting in Minnesota, the mighty Mississippi flows to the Gulf of Mexico and carries with it all the by-products of agriculture. All the chemical fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used on farmland along the Mississippi wash into the soil surrounding the river and begin their journey south.

Artificial chemicals used in agriculture have an extremely high content of nitrogen and phosphorus. In fact, these chemicals have more nitrogen and phosphorus in them than the crops could ever use, so any excess is absorbed into the soil and ends up in streams, creeks, rivers, and lakes…all of which end up somehow connected to by the Mississippi River!

Unfortunately, the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico has only increased over time and shows no signs of stopping its growth anytime soon. Men and women who live by the sea have no control over this problem and simply have to deal with it. Apparently marine life has no words! And now, on top of it all, there are the devastating effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill!

We are killing our planet! That’s all! The obvious misuse and overuse of chemicals in farming causes dead zones where marine life cannot live. Our thirst for energy contributes to unsafe conditions and disregard for safety precautions when it comes to oil drilling. We must be responsible for our actions – all of us – not just the people who make their living in the Gulf of Mexico and the marine life that tries to make a home there.

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