News FAQ: Massive "Dead Zone" Coming to Gulf
According to oceanographers, conditions in the Gulf of Mexico could produce an oxygen-less "dead zone" the size of New Jersey. Here are questions people from around the web have about this algae-choked area in the ocean:
Q: If I jump into the dead zone, will I turn into a skeleton?!?!
A: No. Unless you were to somehow drown in the process, in which case, yes, you would eventually turn into a skeleton. But not instantaneously.
Q: Does this mean the ocean can touch people and tell their future, and possibly even change it?
A: No, that is the premise of the Stephen King book The Dead Zone, as well as the film and television series of the same name. In oceanography, a dead zone is a large area where bacteria that eat algae have consumed all the oxygen, leaving it uninhabitable for fish.
Q: I just got a new security system installed in my home. What assurance do I have that the dead zone won't be able to bypass it?
A: The central concern is that the dead zone will be devastating to fish populations. The only foreseeable way in which this would affect the security of your home is if unemployed fishermen turn to crime.
Q: How is this bullshit my fault?
A: It’s not exactly your fault. Higher than normal rainfall means more runoff from fields carrying more commercial fertilizer into the ocean, making the environment nearly perfect for algae blooms. So it's your fault inasmuch as you’ve contributed to factory farming and global climate change.
Q: Here we go again. Humans getting blamed for mistakes fish make.
A: Again, dead zones are caused by agricultural runoff that is flushed into larger bodies of water by floods. Fish are the victims here.
Q: This dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico might be record-breaking. Will they launch a torpedo with a certificate attached to it into the water?
A: No. They will not be recognizing this body of water with a certificate.
Q: This isn't affecting my country. Why should I care?
A: It is simply called the Gulf of Mexico. Five U.S. States are on its coast.
Q: How are we going to deal with all of the homeless fish displaced by the dead zone?
A: That is almost a valid question. Fish will be forced to feed in other areas because the dead zone will kill most of their food. However, homelessness isn't an issue with fish.
Q: Can we go harvest all the dead clams and make a big, free clam dinner?
A: You would be well advised to steer clear of a dead zone as bacteria levels are very high. Feel free to make a big clam dinner from clams you buy at the store.
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