In the depths of the ocean, in the bottom part of the Gulf of Mexico, scientists discovered a lake. Anyone who swims into his poisoned waters, is doomed to torment, perhaps – to death.
The underwater lake was studied by oceanologist Erik Cordes (Erik Cordes), about the results of the research he and his team tell in the journal Oceanography.
The water in the “lake at the bottom of the sea” is five times saltier than in the rest of the bay, and is saturated with methane and hydrogen sulfide. The concentration of these gases is so high that living in a “dead lake” is not capable of most living things, and those that swim there accidentally, die from intoxication. Only bacteria, some worms, mollusks and crustaceans withstand toxic environment. They are the main interest of marine biologists studying organisms that have adapted to life in the extreme conditions of a poisonous lake.
The majority of multicellular organisms can survive under such conditions: they convert toxic methane and hydrogen sulphide into organic molecules, which are able to be consumed by a few organisms that have chosen a poisonous oceanic lake. At the bottom of the lake, the explorable underwater drone of Hercules discovered the polychaete worms Hesiocaeca methanicola, the mollusks Bathymodiolus brooksi and Bathymodiolus childressi, and many of their symbionts.
The temperature in this part of the ocean is much higher than in other bottom areas, and reaches 19 ° C. Hydrogen sulfide and methane come from deposits located under a layer of sedimentary rocks; they have a higher temperature than most of the water at this depth. Because of the difference in density, saline water volumes, in which the pools of underwater salts dissolve, mix poorly with less saline water in the ocean – for this reason there is a toxic underwater lake.