Gulf of Mexico’s ‘dead zone’ larger than average this year

Taylor Energy

FILE- In this March 31, 2015 aerial photo, the wake of a supply vessel heading towards a working platform crosses over an oil sheen drifting from the site of the former Taylor Energy oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana. A new federally led estimate of oil seeping from a platform toppled off Louisiana 14½ years ago is below other recent estimates. But the report contradicts the well owner’s assertions about the amount and source of oil. Oil and gas have been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico since a subsea mudslide caused by Hurricane Ivan on Sept. 15, 2004 knocked over a Taylor Energy Co. production platform. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Researchers say this year’s Gulf of Mexico “dead zone” is larger than average.

Scientists determined that the area off the coasts of Louisiana and Texas covers about 6,334 square miles.

The average size of the area where there’s too little oxygen to support marine life has been 5,380 square miles over the past five years.

Officials said Tuesday that the area could have been larger than the average-sized zone it predicted in June because Mississippi River discharge that drained into the Gulf was above normal for the three weeks before the survey.

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