Scientists Find a Lake of Death Under the Gulf of Mexico That Kills Nearly Anything That Swims Into It

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Scientists have discovered a “lake” of death in the Gulf of Mexico. Anything that enters this pool at the bottom of the sea will suffer horribly. Erik Cordes, associate professor of biology at Temple University, has researched the pool since 2014 and published his findings in the journal Oceanography.

“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”, Cordes told Discovery News.

Cordes was researching corals in the Gulf using a remote controlled underwater robot to look a little closer at the deeper colonies when he accidentally discovered the underwater lake. He returned the next year with a team and a three-man submarine to get up close and personal with the toxic, briny pool.

According to his report, the lake is about 100 feet around and 12 feet deep. It sits at 3,300 feet below the surface and is almost twice the temperature of the surrounding ocean. It’s also extraordinarily salty–almost five times more so than the water outside of it. Part of the reason he was able to discover it was because the bottom of the pool was lined with dead crabs that made the mistake of getting too close.

For animals (and people) who swim into it, these toxic concentrations can be deadly. Only bacterial life, tube worms and shrimp can survive those circumstances.

For scientists this “lake” is like a playground for their research. They can explore, how certain organisms can survive in extreme habitats. “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” Cordes said to “seeker” via Business Insider.

From the YouTube description: Brine pools, on one hand, provide the basis for life through chemosynthesis for creatures living near them on the bottom of the ocean. On the other hand, the fluid they contain is extremely toxic to many forms of sea life. Here we see creatures that have ventured inside the dangerous interior of the brine pool and failed to return.

E/V Nautilus is exploring the ocean studying biology, geology, archeology, and more. Watch for live video from the ocean floor. For live dive updates follow along on social media at and on Twitter. For more photos from our dives, check out our Instagram @nautiluslive.




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