Phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada

Phytoplankton bloom off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada
  • Credit:

    Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

To the southeast of the Canadian island province of Newfoundland, a phytoplankton bloom is coloring the waters of the Atlantic Ocean bright blue and green. This MODIS true-color image made from data acquired on September 20, 2001, shows the bloom curving around to the northwest and reaching into the Cabot Strait, which separates Newfoundland from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

The bloom is occurring in a region of the Atlantic known as the Grand Banks, one of the world's richest fishing grounds. Covering over a hundred square miles of shallow water to the southeast of Newfoundland, the Grand Banks are named for a series of underwater plateaus known as banks. The banks disturb ocean circulation patterns and cause deep ocean waters, rich in nutrients, to mix with the shallower waters. This deep water upwelling provides a nearly constant source of nutrients for phytoplankton, which thrive and support fish populations.

Newfoundland is a region whose present-day geological characteristics were greatly influenced by glaciers. The southern coast is indented in numerous places by fjords, deep inlets where ancient glacial erosion now allows the sea to reach inland. Numerous glacial lakes are scattered across the region. Many of the lakes are long and narrow, and are likely the result of glacial action in combination with bedrock characteristics, for example, increased glacial erosion along a fault.

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  • Data Date:

    September 20, 2001
  • Visualization Date:

    September 26, 2001
  • Sensor(s):

    Terra - MODIS
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration