Sediment and Phytoplankton off the Yucatan Peninsula
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Sediment and Phytoplankton off the Yucatan Peninsula

December 22, 2008
Swirls of bright blue and green Phytoplankton, mixed in with sediment and other organic matter, are visible along the western coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in this image acquired on MODIS on the Terra satellite on December 14, 2008. The Yucatan peninsula is made up of parts of three different countries: Mexico (the states of Quintana Roo and Campeche), the northern portion of Belize, and the northern territory (El Petén) of Guatemala.

Phytoplankton blooms are often fed by surface runoff; nutrients are washed away from the land by rivers and deposited into the ocean, where they are brought to the surface by deep currents. Much of the sediment is visible near the Laguna de Términos, near the Ciudad del Carmen.

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