Where the Mississippi River Meets the Gulf of Mexico

On April 23, 2016, a photo purporting to show “where the Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico” started going viral on Facebook along with the claim that “these two waters never mix”. Subsequent posts of the image included an additional (misspelled) statement, that this lack of mixing was proof of the existence of God: The Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. Two bodies of water never mix; allows the Gulf of Mexico to keep its color blue. Simply awesome! That just proves that they are GOD!!!! Who else can let WATER meet and touch without NEVER mixing together???? #I will waitAlthough some viewers claim that this visual effect is a beautiful creation of God, the image actually shows a man-made hypoxia event that is harmful to the environment. The image is actually taken from a video originally published by Marlin Magazine in November 2015: This video captures an oscillating dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, caused when nutrient-rich water fills with nitrogen and phosphorus from The Mississippi River empties into the Gulf. That led to massive algae blooms, altered food chains, and hypoxic (oxygen-starved) waters: Forty-one percent of the continental United States (1.2 million square miles) emptied into the Mississippi River and then emptied. to the Gulf of Mexico. Much of the land in the Mississippi watershed is farmland. 70% of nutrients that cause hypoxia are the result of agricultural runoff caused by rain washing fertilizers out of the soil and into rivers and streams. In addition, 12 million people live in metropolitan areas bordering Mississippi, and these areas continuously discharge treated wastewater into rivers. Farm and municipal waste includes nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus that are important for phytoplankton growth. About 1.7 million tons of these nutrients are fed by rivers into the Gulf of Mexico each year. This massive influx of nutrients caused massive blooms of phytoplankton, which led to a massive increase in phytoplankton-eating zooplankton species. Large amounts of dead phytoplankton and zooplankton waste then accumulate on the seafloor. This leads to large hypoxic areas known as Dead Zones, which tend to occur in the summer and vary in size. According to a fact sheet released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the average size of a dead zone is about 6,000 square miles. The Mississippi River has a major effect on marine life in the Gulf of Mexico: Nutrient overload and algal blooms lead to eutrophication, which has been shown to reduce benthic biomass and biodiversity . Anoxic water supports fewer organisms and has been linked to mass fish killings in the Black Sea and Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico is a major source area for the seafood industry. The Gulf region provides 72% of harvested US shrimp, 66% of harvested oysters and 16% of commercial fish (Potash and Phosphate Institutes of the United States and Canada, 1999). Therefore, if the hypoxic zone continues or worsens, fishermen and the economies of coastal states will be greatly affected. While the Maritime Association of Louisiana Universities calls this dead zone a recurring environmental problem, the apparent color difference is not a year-round permanent fix. of the world, such as the Gulf of Alaska, where glaciers merge with the ocean.

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