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Oct 31, 2016

Scientists discover a lake under the sea: Those who swim there may never come back alive

According  to an article in the journal of Oceanography, there is a new scary discovery.

 Scientists have discovered a "lake" in the Gulf of Mexico. Everyone, who 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 and described 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.

The water in the "lake within the sea" is about five times as salty as the water surrounding it. It also contains highly toxic concentrations of methane and hydrogen sulfide and can thus not mix with the surrounding sea.

Based on the findings, the lake discovered in the Mexican Gulf was like a jacuzzi, though it was not simply a warm bath. It was deadly to organisms that are not used to high temperatures.

The "lake" was measured to have a salinity level five times higher than its surrounding waters, making it denser and not easily mixed up with the normal seawater. It also had high concentrations of methane and hydrogen sulfide which are already toxic for humans and for animals. Though selected species of shrimps and tubeworms were found to adapt in this kind of ecosystem, majority of the living organisms that can thrive here are bacteria. These organisms have the capacity to convert methane and other present chemicals for their food and other needs.

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 told Seeker.