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'Dead zone' in the Gulf of Mexico is the size of Connecticut

(Reuters) - Scientists say a man-made "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico is as big as the state of Connecticut. The zone, which at about 5,000 square miles (13,000 sq km) is the second largest in the world but still smaller than in previous years, is so named because it contains no oxygen, or too little, at the Gulf floor to support bottom-dwelling fish and shrimp. The primary cause of the annual phenomenon is excess nutrient runoff from farms along the Mississippi River, which empties into the Gulf, said Gene Turner, a researcher at Louisiana State University's Coastal Ecology Institute. The nutrients feed algae growth, which consumes oxygen when it works its way to the Gulf bottom, he said. "It's a poster child for how we are using and abusing our natural resources," Turner said. More via Reuters.

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