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Main article: "2006 Gulf of Mexico earthquake

On September 10, 2006, the "U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center reported that a magnitude 6.0 "earthquake occurred about 250 miles (400 km) west-southwest of "Anna Maria, Florida, around 10:56 AM "EDT. The quake was reportedly felt from Louisiana to Florida in the "Southeastern United States. There were no reports of damage or injuries.[31][32] Items were knocked from shelves and "seiches were observed in swimming pools in parts of Florida.[33] The earthquake was described by the USGS as an "intraplate earthquake, the largest and most widely felt recorded in the past three decades in the region.[33] According to the September 11, 2006 issue of "The Tampa Tribune, earthquake tremors were last felt in Florida in 1952, recorded in "Quincy, 20 miles (32 km) northwest of "Tallahassee

Maritime boundary delimitation agreements[edit]

Cuba and Mexico: Exchange of notes constituting an agreement on the "delimitation of the exclusive economic zone of Mexico in the sector adjacent to Cuban maritime areas (with map), of July 26, 1976.

Cuba and United States of America: "Maritime boundary agreement between the United States of America and the Republic of Cuba, of December 16, 1977.

Mexico and United States of America: Treaty to resolve pending boundary differences and maintain the Rio Grande and Colorado River as the international boundary, of November 23, 1970; Treaty on maritime boundaries between the United States of America and the United Mexican States (Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean), of May 4, 1978, and Treaty between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Mexican States on the delimitation of the continental shelf in the Western Gulf of Mexico beyond 200 nautical miles (370 km), of June 9, 2000.

On 13 December 2007, Mexico submitted information to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) regarding the extension of Mexico's continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles.[34] Mexico sought an extension of its continental shelf in the Western Polygon based on international law, UNCLOS, and bilateral treaties with the United States, in accordance with Mexico's domestic legislation. On 13 March 2009, the CLCS accepted Mexico's arguments for extending its continental shelf up to 350 NM into the Western Polygon. Since this would extend Mexico's continental shelf well into territory claimed by the United States, however, Mexico and the U.S. would need to enter a bilateral agreement based on international law that delimits their respective claims.

Biota[edit]

Various biota include "chemosynthetic communities near "cold seeps and nonchemosynthetic communities such as "bacteria and other micro - "benthos, "meiofauna, "macrofauna, and "megafauna (larger organisms such as "crabs, "sea pens, "crinoids, and "demersal fish and "cetaceans including endangered ones) are living in the Gulf of Mexico.[35] Recently, resident "Bryde's whales within the gulf were classified as an endemic, unique subspecies and making them as one of the most endangered whales in the world.[36] The Gulf of Mexico yields more "finfish, shrimp, and "shellfish annually than the "south and "mid-Atlantic, "Chesapeake, and "New England areas combined.[3]

The "Smithsonian Institution Gulf of Mexico holdings are expected to provide an important baseline of understanding for future scientific studies on the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.[37] In Congressional testimony, Dr. Jonathan Coddington, Associate Director of Research and Collections at the Smithsonian's "National Museum of Natural History, provides a detailed overview of the Gulf collections and their sources which Museum staff have made available on an online map. The samples were collected for years by the former Minerals Management Service (renamed the "Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement) to help predict the potential impacts of future oil/gas explorations. Since 1979, the specimens have been deposited in the national collections of the National Museum of Natural History.[38]

Pollution[edit]

""

The major environmental threats to the Gulf are "agricultural runoff and "oil drilling.

There are frequent ""red tide" algae blooms[39] that kill fish and marine mammals and cause respiratory problems in humans and some domestic animals when the blooms reach close to shore. This has especially been plaguing the southwest and southern Florida coast, from the Florida Keys to north of "Pasco County, Florida.

The Gulf contains a "hypoxic "dead zone that runs east-west along the Texas-Louisiana coastline. In July 2008, researchers reported that between 1985 and 2008, the area roughly doubled in size and now stretches from near "Galveston, Texas, to near "Venice, Louisiana. It is now about 8,000 square miles (21,000 km2), nearly the record.[40] Poor agricultural practices in the northern portion of the Gulf of Mexico have led to a tremendous increase of "nitrogen and "phosphorus in neighboring marine ecosystems, which has resulted in "algae blooms and a lack of available oxygen. Occurrences of "masculinization and estrogen suppression were observed as a result. An October 2007 study of the "Atlantic croaker found a disproportioned sex ratio of 61% males to 39% females in hypoxic Gulf sites. This was compared with a 52% to 48% male-female ratio found in reference sites, showing an impairment of reproductive output for fish populations inhabiting hypoxic coastal zones.[41]

There are 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells beneath the Gulf. These have generally not been checked for potential environmental problems.[42]

Ixtoc I explosion and oil spill[edit]

Ixtoc I and "Ixtoc I oil spill

In June 1979, the "Ixtoc I "oil platform in the Bay of Campeche suffered a "blowout leading to a catastrophic explosion, which resulted in a "massive oil spill that continued for nine months before the well was finally capped. This was ranked as the largest oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico until the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill[edit]

Deepwater Horizon explosion and "Deepwater Horizon oil spill

On April 20, 2010, the "Deepwater Horizon oil platform, located in the "Mississippi Canyon about 40 miles (64 km) off the Louisiana coast, suffered a catastrophic explosion; it sank a day-and-a-half later.[43] It was in the process of being sealed with cement for temporary abandonment, to avoid environmental problems.[42] Although initial reports indicated that relatively little oil had leaked, by April 24, it was claimed by BP that approximately 1,000 barrels (160 m3) of oil per day were issuing from the "wellhead, about 1-mile (1.6 km) below the surface on the ocean floor.[44] On April 29, the U.S. government revealed that approximately 5,000 barrels (790 m3) per day, five times the original estimate, were pouring into the Gulf from the wellhead.[45] The resulting "oil slick quickly expanded to cover hundreds of square miles of ocean surface, posing a serious threat to "marine life and adjacent "coastal wetlands, and to the livelihoods of Gulf Coast shrimpers and fishermen.[46] Coast Guard Rear Adm. Sally Brice O'Hare stated that the U.S. government will be "employing booms, skimmers, chemical dispersants and controlled burns" to combat the oil spill. By May 1, 2010, the oil spill cleanup efforts were underway, but hampered by rough seas and the "tea like" consistency of the oil. Cleanup operations were resumed after conditions became favorable. On May 27, 2010, The "USGS had revised the estimate of the leak from 5,000 barrels per day (790 m3/d) to 12,000–19,000 barrels per day (3,000 m3/d)[47] an "increase from earlier estimates. On July 15, 2010, BP announced that the leak stopped for the first time in 88 days.

In July 2015 BP reached an $18.7bn settlement with the US government, the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, as well as 400 local authorities. To date BP's cost for the clean-up, environmental and economic damages and penalties has reached $54bn.[48]

Minor oil spills[edit]

According to the "National Response Center, the oil industry has thousands of minor accidents in the Gulf of Mexico every year.[49]

Brutus oil spill[edit]

On May 12, 2016, a release of oil from subsea infrastructure on "Shell's Brutus oil rig released 2,100 barrels of oil. This leak created a visible 2 mile by 13 mile oil slick in the sea about 97 miles south of "Port Fourchon, "Louisiana, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.[49]

See also[edit]

US Gulf of Mexico Protraction areas

References[edit]

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  4. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved February 7, 2010. 
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External links[edit]

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