Undersea lake! Does that sound a bit weird? Well, it is actually weird. But things get weirder when your picture of a lake is completely distorted by this one. Well, known as Jacuzzi of Despair, the undersea lake in Gulf of Mexico is actually an underwater horror zone for anything that has life! Step into it and you are dead if you happen to be a fish or a crab or any sea creature that lives deep enough!
The ocean is vast and for creatures that live close enough to the seabed, the real estate availability should always give then quite a big grin. However, those who live close to this Jacuzzi of Despair and wish to cross over to the other side to explore new lands, the story gets terrifying.
This undersea lake was discovered back in 2014 by Erik Cordes – a biology professor in Temple College. The discovery was accidental and was made by an underwater robot that was remotely controlled. In 2015 however, Cordes returned but this time he used a three-man sub to get closer to the lake-in-a-gulf. The initial accidental discovery was a result of study of corals.
This is how Erik Cordes explains the lake he saw:
You go down into the underside of the ocean and you’re looking at a lake or a river flowing. It seems like you aren’t on this world. We have been in a position to see the primary opening of a canyon … we noticed the brine falling over this wall like a dam. It was this stunning pool of purple white and black colors.
Features of Undersea Lake of Gulf of Mexico
After a thorough study of the lake, Erik decided to submit his reports to Oceanography journal. You can find the report right here. The lake, according to the report, has a circumference of 100 feet and is merely 12 feet deep. However, it is located at a depth of 3,300 below sea surface. The lake bed was covered with deep-sea crab. The only problem was that all these crabs were actually dead!
The lake’s temperature turned out to be 65˚F while the temperature of the sea water around it and right above it was at 39˚F. That was a massive difference in temperature. It wasn’t the temperature that actually killed the crabs that adorned the lake bed. The killer was actually the extreme salinity of the lake water. According to the studies of this undersea lake discoverer, the lake water turned out to be nearly 5 times as saline as the sea water of the Gulf of Mexico. Adding to the terrifying situation are the oily deposits and hydrogen sulfide.
The highly saline water, the oily deposits and the hydrogen sulfide together create a deadly goo. As if that was not harsh enough, there is methane oozing out from the lake bed! So, what really lies in that lake is a deadly brine, severely starved of oxygen. No wonder any creature that steps into the lake attempting to see the lands on the other side never makes it out alive. So, the name Jacuzzi of Despair is very apt!
However, according to Erik, there are some creatures that are kind of immune to the death pool. Those creatures simply adapt. Erik and his associates actually found some creatures that survive in that death pool. For instance, giant mussels survive in the lake because they have a type of symbiotic bacteria happily living in their gills. These bacteria actually feed on hydrogen sulfide in the lake. Similarly, the team also spotted tube worms and shrimps happily calling the hostile undersea lake their home. They simply adapted!
It is worth noting that this undersea lake is one of only a few similar super-saline pools present in the world that are a result of methane seepage. This one is however special because it is the first one to be stopped which has extremophiles living in and around it. According to Erik, this undersea lake is a perfect setting for space scientists to understand and prepare for similar hostile environments they may encounter out there in distant moons and planets.
Featured Image Copyright: Ocean Exploration Trust