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Deadly Salt Lake Underneath The Gulf Of Mexico Discovered (Video)

First Posted: Nov 01, 2016 04:20 AM EDT
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Exploration Vessel (E/V) Nautilus spotted an underwater, salt-dense lake at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The E/V Nautilus crew has dubbed it as "jacuzzi of despair."

The lake could be a burial ground for fish and crustaceans as the waters in the lake are about five times as salty as the water surrounding it. It also has highly lethal concentrations of methane and hydrogen sulfide that cannot be mixed with the surrounding seawater, according to IFL Science.

The findings were published in the journal Oceanography. Erik Cordes, an associate professor of biology at Temple University described it as one of the most amazing things in the deep sea. He said that if you go down into the bottom of the ocean and you are looking at a lake or a river flowing, it feels like you are not in this world.

Seeker reports that the circular pool is approximately 100 feet in circumference and about 12 feet deep. It lies about 3,300 feet under the surface of the Gulf. The lake has a living mat of bacteria and salt deposits. The crew spotted carcasses of deep-sea crabs that had drifted looking for food. On the other hand, giant mussels, shrimp and tubeworms could survive the high salinity of the dead pool as they were seen surrounding the pool.

The water from "jacuzzi of despair" was about 65 degrees' Fahrenheit compare to the 39 degrees of the surrounding seawater, according to Scott Wankel, the biogeochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He described the pool as warm yet super salty. "When they fall in they die and get pickled and preserved."

Cordes said that the pools are exceptional in the world's oceans. The researchers recovered some samples of microbial life that can survive the high salinity and low oxygen of the pool. Cordes also said that these creatures could bear a resemblance to life on planets in the solar system or beyond.

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