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Scientists predict huge ‘dead zone’ in Gulf of Mexico

A near record-size “dead zone” of oxygen-starved water could form in the Gulf of Mexico this summer, threatening its huge stocks of marine life, researchers said.

The area could spread over 8,700 square miles, scientists at Louisiana State University said Monday. That’s about the size of the state of Massachusetts. It’s also well above the five-year average of 5,770 square miles.

Experts blamed unusually high rainfall across the Midwest this spring that washed farm fertilizers along streams and rivers through the Mississippi River basin into the gulf.

The nutrients in the fertilizers feed algae that die, decompose and deplete the water of oxygen, the Louisiana scientists said.

“When the oxygen is below two parts per million, any shrimp, crabs and fish that can swim awa...

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