Gulf of Mexico Fun Facts: The Gulf of Mexico yields more finfish, shrimp, and shellfish annually than the south and mid-Atlantic, Chesapeake, and New England areas combined. More than 400 species of shells can be found in the Gulf of Mexico. Gulf beaches are considered the best shelling beaches in North America. The worlds longest man-made beach is located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast 26 miles long. The Mississippi River deposits more than 3.3 million gallons of water into the Gulf every second. The Mississippi River contributes more than 90 percent of the fresh water entering the Gulf. Bottlenose dolphins are the most common dolphin species in the Gulf and are estimated to number up to 45,000. Indian mounds on the campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge were built 450 years before the first Egyptian pyramid. The word Mississippi means father of waters, and Biloxi means first people. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge, at 24 miles long, is the second longest continuous overwater bridge in the world. The City of New Orleans is actually built 5 to 17 feet below sea level. Huge levees are built to keep the mighty Mississippi from flooding the city. The Gulf of Mexico Program is located at John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. This federal city, with NASA as the lead, currently comprises the largest concentration of oceanographers engaged in science and research in the world.
The Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone A huge "dead zone" of water so devoid of oxygen that sea life cannot live in it has spread across 5,800 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico this summer in what has become an annual occurrence caused by pollution. The dead zone lacks oxygen because of pollution in the form of excess nutrients that flows into the gulf from the Mississippi River. Animals trying to live in this smothering layer of water near the bottom of the sea must either leave or they will sufficate.
Coastal cities along the Gulf of Mexico include Tampa, St. Petersburg, Pensacola, Mobile, New Orleans, Beaumont, and Houston in the United States,Veracruz and Mérida in Mexico, and Havana in Cuba. The Gulf of Mexico�s shores and beaches, offering an ideal location for swimming, sun, and all water sports, supports a $20 billion tourist industry.