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MODIS satellite captures images of sediment flushed into the Gulf of Mexico

By Adriana Navarro, AccuWeather staff writer
March 23, 2019, 4:19:04 PM EDT

MODIS Satellite

Sediment carried by the Mississippi River is dumped into the Gulf of Mexico as shown by MODIS satellite imagery.

MODIS Satellite

Soil and other contaminants are washed down the Mississippi River from the Central U.S. floods.

MODIS Satellite

The sediment is deposited in the Mississippi Delta.

MODIS Satellite

The nutrients from the carried sediment have contributed to algae blooms in the past, creating "dead zones" as they deplete the water of oxygen.

MODIS Satellite

The deposited sediment isn't just at the mouth of the Mississippi River, but ranges from Gulfport to Marsh Island.


NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) from the Terra satellite captured images of sediment from the Central U.S. floods that flushed into the Gulf of Mexico.

This is nothing new for the Gulf as snow melts in the spring and flows into the Mississippi River, sweeping away soil and other contaminants along with it. Typically, the soil would settle on the land near the river, but levees built to prevent flooding prevent the soil from settling out of the water.

"High concentrations of soil, fertilizer, and other nutrients from farms, lawns and sewage treatment plants pour into the northern Gulf of Mexico," according to NASA's Earth Observatory.

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"This sediment contributes to algae blooms, which can lead to the depletion of oxygen in the water and create "dead zones."

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