In the Gulf of Mexico, scientists have discovered a brine pool that they call the “Jacuzzi of Despair.” The reason for the bizarre name? Most things that swim in do not swim out.
Brine pools are large, salty areas of water found on the ocean floor. Within them, salinity levels are three to five times higher than in the surrounding waters. Although deep-sea dwellers can survive the extreme saltiness, it kills any other creature that unknowingly swims (or crawls) in.
When Nautilus Live visited the Jacuzzi of Despair, they made a fascinating discovery. As you can see, barnacles have settled on the edge of the basin, but they won’t go an inch farther.
Some creatures, however, are drawn in by the brine pool’s warm temperature. Within seconds, most fall asleep and die, effectively pickled by the salty water.
In addition to the pool’s high salinity, it contains toxic levels of hydrogen sulfide and methane.
A leak in the brine pool could result in these toxic gases flowing into the ocean, killing countless sea creatures.
Scientists hope the pool will teach them more about how some organisms survive in harsh conditions. Professor Erik Cordes of Temple University told Seeker, “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.”
To learn more about the Jacuzzi of Despair, check out the video below. As you’ll see, even Nautilus Live is surprised by what they find.
Luckily, I’ve made it a rule to never mess around in the deep sea. As I learned from Nemo, that place is terrifying.