Nature

Sub Finds ‘Jacuzzi of Despair’ in the Gulf Of Mexico

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Nautilus Live is the group of gulf exploring scientists who brought us the cute, toy-like squid discovery earlier this year. Now, they’re making headlines again with their up-close look at what they call the “Jacuzzi of Despair.”

According to Seeker, this area of the ocean is only about a day’s boat ride from New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico. Its proper name is the Deep-Sea Brine Lake, and it’s basically a 100-foot wide circular pool that’s 3,300 feet below the surface.

Seeker explains, “It contains water that is four or five times saltier than the surrounding seawater. As a result, the brine is so dense that it sits on the bottom, forming an underwater cauldron of toxic chemicals that include methane gas and hydrogen sulfide that doesn’t mix with surrounding seawater.”

As one can see in the Nautilus Live video, it really looks like a river is flowing through an alien planet landscape. The water is a warm 65 degrees compared to the surrounding 39 degrees, so creatures want to visit. But as biogeochemist Scott Wankel says, once an isopod enters the “Jacuzzi of Despair,” they “die and get pickled and preserved” from the increased salt.