Sediment off the Coast of Tunisia
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Sediment off the Coast of Tunisia

January 24, 2009
Bright greens and blues decorate the waters off the coast of Tunisia in Africa. Many times these colors are indicative of small marine plants called phytoplankton, however in this case, the color is likely due to sediment. It is possible that there are some phytoplankton present, as they will often live off of sediment stirred up from the ocean floor. However, the shallow waters here, in combination with the sediment probably account for the bright coloration of the water. If you look at the high resolution image, you can also see browns mixed in with the blues and greens.

This region will often experience color in the waters after a storm, and a storm did recently move through this area. Strong winds generated a dust storm in nearby Libya (located to the southeast of Tunisia). The winds likely created larger waves which stirred the ocean, bringing up the sediment.

This image was captured by the MODIS on the Aqua satellite on January 16, 2009.

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