Spring phytoplankton bloom in the Gulf of Alaska • Earth.com

Spring phytoplankton bloom in the Gulf of Alaska

Today’s Image of the Day comes thanks to the NASA Earth Observatory and features a look at a spring phytoplankton bloom in the Gulf of Alaska.

This photo was taken on April 12, 2017 by the Moderate Resolution Spectroradiometer (MODIS) onboard NASA’s Aqua satellite.

This phenomenon occurs when bedrock that has been ground into dust by glaciers seeps into the water and turns it a turquoise color. It also promotes the growth of phytoplankton that feed off its iron.

“We generally expect the blooms to start inshore and then propagate out to deeper water as stratification takes place,” said Scott Pegau, researcher at the Prince William Sound Science Center. Spring phytoplankton bloom in the Gulf of Alaska.

The Gulf shoreline is a rugged combination of forest, mountain and a number of tidewater glaciers. Alaska’s largest glaciers, the Malaspina Glacier and Bering Glacier, spill out onto the coastal line along the Gulf of Alaska. The coast is heavily indented with Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound, the two largest connected bodies of water. It includes Yakutat Bay and Cross Sound. Lituya Bay (a fijord north of Cross Sound, and south of Mount Fairweather) is the site of the largest recorded tsunami in history. It serves as a sheltered anchorage for fishing boats.

By Rory Arnold, Earth.com

Source: NASA Earth Observatory

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