The dead zonein the gulf first caught the attention of oceanographers in 1985. It was then 4,000 miles squared. In the past 5 years it has grown significantly to roughly 8,000 miles squared. Approximately the size of New Jersey. Artificial fertilizer runoff from farms is the cause of the dead zone. The excess of nutrients from fertilizer run-off cause phytoplanktin to bloom. When they die on the ocean floor, they are broken down by oxygen eating bacterias. The bacteria also eat up surrounding oxygen in the water, leaving little for other creatures to survive.
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