This underwater lake is actually helping scientists deal with a much bigger mystery.
It may seem impossible, but scientists have discovered what can only be deemed as a lake under the sea. Dubbed the “Jacuzzi of Despair,” the brine-filled pool is deadly for the majority of creatures that dare enter it but is proving to be highly informational for those that are studying it.
Located in the Gulf of Mexico, the lake rises about 12 feet off of the ocean floor and is four to five times saltier than the surrounding ocean. It’s also twice as warm, rich with methane, which is what makes it bubble like a jacuzzi, and is dense with hydrogen sulfide. This makes it incompatible with the sea water and a completely separate entity.
Dr. Erik Cordes, associate professor of biology at Temple University in Philadelphia who discovered the pool with several colleagues, told Seeker,
“It was one of the most amazing things in the deep sea. 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 on this world.”
Since the conditions of the pool are so foreign to humans and most of the creatures living under the sea, it’s allowing scientists to get a glimpse of what life might be like in extreme circumstances. What started as an interesting lake in the middle of the ocean has now become the heart of experimentation for one of the most mysterious subjects known to man: space. Dr. Cordes said,
“There’s a lot of people looking at these extreme habitats on Earth as models for what we might discover when we go to other planets.The technology development in the deep sea is definitely going to be applied to the worlds beyond our own.”
What makes the pool even more unique is that it has a lively ecosystem that has evolved throughout the centuries to include more species. While larger animals, such as deep-sea crabs, die as soon as they enter the pool, other creatures have adapted to the atmosphere of the water and even thrive on it. Giant mussels formed symbiotic bacteria in their gills to feed off of the hydrogen sulfide and methane gas from the pool and specially adapted shrimp and tube worms were able to survive the harsh conditions. Any other animals that entered were immediately killed, pickled by the salt, and preserved forever.
Watch the video below to see the beautiful lake for yourself and the creatures who did and did not survive the conditions.