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Hydrogen Sulphide Eruptions along the Coast of Namibia
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Hydrogen Sulphide Eruptions along the Coast of Namibia

April 19, 2013
Thought the brilliant turquoise streak of water that lines the coast of Namibia is stunning in this true-color Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) image, it represents a trying event for people in Namibia. Pure sulfur gives the water this color when hydrogen sulfide gas erupts to the surface of the ocean. This toxic gas is released by bacteria breaking down plants on the ocean floor. When ocean conditions bring the gas to the surface, it interacts with oxygen in the upper layers of the ocean and forms pure sulfur. The gas is toxic and kills large numbers of fish as it erupts to the surface. It releases a powerful odor that smells like rotten eggs. MODIS flying on the Aqua satellite captured this image of a hydrogen sulphide eruption on June 4, 2005. Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC