Lake in the Gulf of Mexico dating back to Jurassic Period fascinates experts

(Photo Credit: WWL-TV)
(Photo Credit: WWL-TV)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WWL-TV) – There’s so much ocean to explore, some say we probably know more about the moon than the ocean floor.

So a discovery like the ‘Brine Pool’ in the Gulf Coast is something truly remarkable.

The Corps of Exploration is doing what they can to learn from it.

“Oh there’s a cascade, look at it spilling out!” said one scientist.

The EVNautilus YouTube video of the of the ‘Brine Pool: Jacuzzi of Despair’ is mesmerizing.

“That is amazing, that is wild!”

A robotic vehicle in the Gulf of Mexico more than 3,000 feet deep, and revealing something experts don’t see often.

“It’s pretty rare,” said Stennis Space Center’s Deputy Commander for Naval Meteorology and Oceanography, William Burnett. “There’s actually one found off the Garden Banks, I don’t think we knew this was sitting out in the Gulf of Mexico. It formed back in periods dating back to the Jurassic Period, so a long time ago.”

At about 200 feet wide and 12 feet deep, the ‘Brine Pool’ looks like a lake at the bottom of the ocean.

“Through plate tectonics you had this pool of very dense salt water that came up from the ground, and as it filled in a round shape organisms filled around it,” he said.

However, with Methane Gas and Hydrogen Sulfide in the pool’s water, it’s also known as the ‘Jacuzzi of Despair.’

“It’s a highly toxic environment compared to the ocean water around it,” said Burnett. “It’s very warm water that’s coming up from the ground. It’s around 70 degrees Fahrenheit compared to the ocean water around it which is in the 30’s.”

The discovery has fascinated many.

“It’s a well-contained environment,” Burnett said. “It’s not really moving, some of it is seeping out. Parts of the wall is a waterfall effect. It’s kind of a dicey situation because you don’t want to disturb the pool too much because it’s an organism-type environment and if we take too many samples we don’t know if we’ll disturb it to the point it’ll lose its structure.”

Experts hope this rare find will lead to others.

“We can theorize these pools exist but to go out and stumble and find it, it allows us to go and study the organisms and type of ocean water it’s very exciting,” Burnett said. “Could revolutionize the way we think about life and ocean.”

You can actually be a part of the crew from your home. Visit the Nautilus website, where you can watch the work they do, interact with the crew in real-time, and make fascinating discoveries with them.

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