The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, an area of little or no oxygen, is the 11th largest measured and nearly 18 percent bigger than predicted. The area, 6,474 square miles is as big as Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Last year’s dead zone was about the size of Connecticut.
Federal and state scientists said the reason for the enlargement is due to heavy June rains throughout the Mississippi River watershed which carried nutrient-rich runoff from farms and other human activities into the Gulf.
Those nutrients, mainly nitrogen and phosphorus feed algae and other one-celled plants that die and fall to the bottom where their decomposition uses up oxygen
Source: Associated Press reports