The “dead zone” of the Mississippi Delta Map
The phenomenon of the “dead zone” results from an excess of nitrates and phosphorous in the Mississippi River. The latter stimulates the proliferation of algae which decomposes when dead, covering over the seabed. This decomposition absorbs all the available oxygen, preventing the presence of all other living matter. The phenomenon has been triggered by the increase in surface cultivation of maize for fuel energy production (more than 35 million hectares). The infatuation of the United States for agro-motor fuels has thus contributed to an increase in use of chemical fertilizers containing nitrates and phosphorous... According to some experts, this “dead zone” phenomenon will certainly exacerbate in the future by climate change, the increase in water temperature accelerating the decomposition of the algae and the redistribution of rainfall, modifying river flow rates.