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The Harbor and Estuary of Tampa Bay in Florida, USA – April 29th, 2010

27.9N 82.4W

April 29th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Sediments

USA - April 4th, 2010

USA - April 4th, 2010

Greenish sediments line the west coast of Florida, USA, particularly in the upper left quadrant, and spill from Tampa Bay (center left) into the Gulf of Mexico. Upon opening the full image, several long bridges can be seen crossing the bay.

Tampa Bay is a large natural harbor and estuary. Approximately 6,000 years ago, the bay formed as a brackish drowned river valley type estuary with a wide mouth connecting it to the Gulf of Mexico. Prior to that time, it was a large fresh water lake, possibly fed by the Floridan Aquifer through natural springs.

Though the exact process of the lake-to-bay transformation is not completely understood, the leading theory is that rising seas levels following the last ice age coupled with the formation of a massive sink hole near the current mouth of the bay created a connection between the lake and the gulf.

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