Photo Shows Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi River Don’t Mix-Mostly Truth!
Summary of eRumor:
A photo that shows a clear line separating bright blue water from murky green water is rumored to show that water from the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River don’t mix.
Images and videos of a clear line separating blue and green water in the Gulf of Mexico are real — and they actually show an area where water from the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi River don’t mix.
The area, which is called a “dead zone,” was located off the shore of Louisiana and Texas in the summer of 2015. It was caused by high levels of nutrient runoff into the Mississippi River that left the water emptying into the Gulf of Mexico with high levels of nitrogen.
High levels of nitrogen lead to overgrowth of algae and other vegetation that sucks much of the oxygen from the water and kills fish. In 2015, when this video was posted, dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico were “above average,” the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports:
The largest previous Gulf of Mexico dead zone was in 2002, encompassing 8,497 square miles. The smallest recorded dead zone measured 15 square miles in 1988. The average size of the dead zone over the past five years has been about 5,500 square miles, nearly three times the 1,900 square mile goal set by the Hypoxia Task Force in 2001 and reaffirmed in 2008.
The hypoxic zone off the coast of Louisiana and Texas forms each summer threatening the ecosystem that supports valuable commercial and recreational Gulf fisheries. NOAA-funded research in the past decade shows hypoxia results in habitat loss, displacement of fish (including shrimp and croaker) from their preferred areas, and a decline in reproductive ability in some species.
Dead zones change each year based on nutrient levels in the water, weather conditions and wind speed — so there’s not a permanent divide in the Gulf of Mexico between blue and green water.
These rumor started with a YouTube video posted in November 2015 under the headline, “Mississippi River Rip in the Flesh,” that claims to display “A true showing of colors when the Gulf of Mexico meets the Mississippi River.”
By April 2016, still shots from the video had made their way to Facebook and other social media platforms in a posts that claims, “The Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico. The two bodies of water never mix with each other; allowing the Gulf of Mexico to retain its clear, blue color. Simply Amazing!”:
So, there are areas of the Gulf of Mexico where a clear divide between blue and green water can be seen. However, that line in the water isn’t permanent and constantly changes based on a number of factors. That’s why we’re calling this one mostly true.