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dead zone (plural dead zones)

  1. An area with no life.
  2. (ecology) An area of the ocean where oxygen levels are too low to support life, especially as a result of pollution.
    • 1999, The Observer, 26 Dec 1999:
      Planet Earth Research this year discovered that humans have created at least 50 ‘dead zones’ (zones where there is no oxygen) in the sea through pollution, and have extinguished other species at 1,000 times the natural rate in evolution.
    • 2012, Charles Clover, ‘Up To Our Necks’, Literary Review, issue 399:
      It is only really in the past decade that science has begun to tell us that the man-made changes now occurring in the oceans – from acidification to overfishing to the growth of dead zones – represent some of the greatest threats to life on Earth.