Groovy phytoplankton blooms in Lake Pontchartrain • Earth.com

Last update: February 18th, 2020 at 8:00 am

Today’s Image of the Day comes from the NASA Earth Observatory and features a look at phytoplankton blooms in Louisiana’s Lake Pontchartrain. Groovy phytoplankton blooms in Lake Pontchartrain

Phytoplankton blooms typically develop when there is a perfect storm of sunlight and nutrients mixed with a nice long stint of warm weather and gentle winds.

This image was captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on board the Landsat 8 satellite.

Lake Pontchartrain (/ˈpɒntʃətreɪn/ PAHN-chə-trayn; French: Lac Pontchartrain, French: [lak pɔ̃ʃaʁtʁɛ̃] (listen)) is a brackish estuary located in southeastern Louisiana in the United States. It covers an area of 630 square miles (1,600 km2) with an average depth of 12 to 14 feet (3.7 to 4.3 m). Some shipping channels are kept deeper through dredging. It is roughly oval in shape, about 40 miles (64 km) from west to east and 24 miles (39 km) from south to north. Groovy phytoplankton blooms in Lake Pontchartrain.

In descending order of area, the lake is located in parts of six Louisiana parishes: St. Tammany, Orleans, Jefferson, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, and Tangipahoa. The water boundaries were defined in 1979 (see list of parishes in Louisiana).

The lake is crossed by the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the longest continuous bridge over water in the world.

By Rory Arnold, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

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