Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Strange Tale of Under-sea Lake ‘Jacuzzi of Despair’


Have you heard of an under-the-sea lagoon or lake? There are many instances of these reported by geologists. However, many of them are habitable one like their surroundings on the sea bed. There is an odd one out in this category. The Scientists who discovered it have decided to call it as Jacuzzi of Despair. This odd lagoon is totally inhospitable to life. No living marine organism has come out of it alive. This under-sea lake is found nearly 3,300 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. In this blog, we will be looking at the peculiarities of this under-sea lake.

jacuzzi of despair

Jacuzzi of Despair

If we look at the under-sea lake, the name given by the Scientists look apt and self-revealing. They have found that the walls enclosing this lake hold a toxic concoction of extra-salty brine and gases. The gases that come out through this dense brine solution are methane and hydrogen sulfide. Hence, the creatures that inadvertently fall into this salt-rich pool of water become dead in no time. It was found by a group of Scientists under the stewardship of Erick Codes, who is an Associate Professor of Biology at Temple University. The group has published its findings in the reputed journal Oceanography.

under-sea pool

Origin of Under-sea Lagoon

According to Erick, the underwater explorers can find these types of formations at various places on the sea bed. For them, these formations present themselves as a lake or a river flowing. According to the team of researchers, this pool or lake came into being when seawater seeped into the fissures on the ocean floor. The seawater mixing with the subsurface salt resulted in a hot extra-saline liquid. This liquid was later pushed back to the surface by the gases such as methane and hydrogen sulfide.  The water in this lake is at least 4-5 times saltier than the water that surrounds it. Being so dense, this extra-strong brine stayed at the bottom forming the lake. In fact, it is a percolating bowl of toxic chemicals, including methane and hydrogen sulfide.

brine pool origin

Significance of this Discovery

Though rare, the underwater adventurers have found brine pools like this before. What makes this brine pool looks different is the existence of rich ecosystems on its edges. According to Erick, the group was able to find mussels with symbiotic bacteria living in one such colony along the periphery of this pool. This colony was feeding on the hydrogen sulfide and methane gases to stay alive. Near the pool, the group was able to find specially adapted shrimps and tube worms as well. These creatures are living in highly saline and no oxygen environment. According to Erick, the study on this type of ecosystem provides hints about the living conditions of those creatures that might be found on planets in our solar system or even beyond. At present, different research groups are using these extreme habitats on earth as models for what we might discover in other extra-terrestrial systems.

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