Green Guide

Gulf of Mexico is still the third major dead zone


Here’s some news that might shake the world of environmentalists and policy makers. Although, the ‘Oxygen poor’ zone of Texas and Louisiana isn’t quite big this year. The zone still ranks as the third largest in the list.

So, what does an oxygen poor zone mean exactly?

According to a Wikipedia definition, the dead zone/oxygen minimum zone/shadow zone is basically a particular area of seawater where, the level of oxygen in the seawater is at it’s lowest. The bacteria in this zone, uses up all the oxygen making the oxygen level in the water low.


Crabs, eels and other creatures found in the Gulf of Mexico, is now swimming together in closely knit shoals. This is mainly due to the low oxygen level. Nancy Rabalais, the chief scientist of Northern Gulf hypoxia studies agrees with this notion:

We very often see swarms of crabs, mostly blue crabs and their close relatives, swimming at the surface when the oxygen is low.

This is basically the dead zone for creatures of the deep blue water. The funny thing is, I know death zone for humans is 26000 feet above sea level in the lofty mountains.

Underneath the glassy 7900 square mile area, there is almost no oxygen whatsoever. So eels are now a rare visitor in these parts. The lack of oxygen results in hypoxia, a condition that is also caused when the freshwater floats over the heavier salt water.


However, the good news is oxygen minimum zone is shrinking. It was larger in 2000 and 2001. During these couple of years, the zone stretched to about 8600 square mile area. Scientists predict more storms than usual have reduced the shadow zone this year.

Hopefully it will further go down in the coming years. Scientist want to see the oxygen deprived zone go down to 2500 square miles. I am sure this will eventually happen if proper steps are taken.

Image Credits:
Eb, Grinningplanet, Gulfofmexicofish

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.

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