Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 21:24 EDT
Hydrogen Sulphide Eruption Along the Namibia Coast
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Hydrogen Sulphide Eruption Along the Namibia Coast

April 3, 2013
The brilliant aqua color of the water in Walvis Bay along Namibia’s western shore is a tale-tell sign of hydrogen sulfide upwelling. Anaerobic bacteria, bacteria that don't need oxygen to survive, on the ocean floor produce hydrogen sulfide gas. As the gas rises to the surface, it interacts with oxygen in the upper levels of the ocean, producing pure sulfur. The sulfur is a yellow solid that, when combined with the blue ocean water, appears green in satellite images. Hydrogen sulfide is toxic to fish, and large quantities can kill entire fish populations. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite detected this upwelling event on November 1, 2003. Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC