Gulf’s ‘dead zone’ off Texas Coast shrinkingBy MICHAEL GRACZYK
August 9, 2007; Houston Chronicle
The first detected "dead zone" off Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, a 1,700-square-mile patch of oxygen-depleted water that could threaten sea life, is shrinking as fresh water pouring into Gulf from the rain-swollen Brazos River subsides, a Texas A&M University researcher said today.
"It’s really hard in one day to get an assessment of an area that size, but based on what we saw, it’s likely a lot smaller and dispersed,"
Steve DiMarco, a professor of oceanography, said after he and 24 graduate students in four boats took oxygen readings a day earlier from the waters off
"The most concentrated area seems to be right where the
The phenomenon is caused when salt water loses large amounts of oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia that is typically associated with an area off the
Scientists who study the
DiMarco said his team found no immediate evidence of a large fish kill or other significant loss of marine life in their testing Wednesday.
"There’s nothing on the surface," he said. "So it’s really hard to know. Sometimes in severe hypoxic conditions, you can see marine life at the surface that’s at the bottom and it’s a sign they’re trying to escape. But we didn’t see any of that."
Water levels on the Brazos have been falling after heavy rains earlier this summer inundated vast areas of North and
Researchers last month who detected the first-ever
"We have a fairly large program to look at the processes that occur off