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Hydrogen Sulphide Eruptions off Namibia
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Hydrogen Sulphide Eruptions off Namibia

April 19, 2004
Bright colors in the ocean waters just off the coast of Namibia tell a story of marine life and death. In this region of the South Atlantic, winds push the warm surface water westward, and cold waters from the bottom of the ocean rush up in their place. The cold water carries with it the nutrients that have sunk to the ocean floor, providing a boon to ocean life. In particular, microscopic plants called phytoplankton thrive on the added nutrients. In turn, these tiny plants are a source of food for many other ocean dwellers. In this true-color Terra MODIS image from April 10, 2004, dark green swirls out in the southern Atlantic Ocean indicate the presence of phytoplankton, which thrive off of the nutrients brought up from deep water by the cold Benguela Current. The individual plants grow quickly, then die after a few days. Their remains sink to the ocean floor where bottom-dwelling bacteria break them down.


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