Scientists aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus have discovered a fascinating (and deadly) phenomenon approximately 3,300 feet (1005 m) below the Gulf of Mexico. Dubbed the “Jacuzzi of Despair”, the pool is oddly warm, measuring at a temperature of 66 degrees F (19 C) – the average temperature at that depth is approximately 43 degrees F (6 C). It is saturated with methane and contains four times more saline than the surrounding water, making it toxic to many sea creatures. The researchers don’t have a solid explanation for this occurrence, though they were able to successfully submerge one of their remotely-operated vehicles equipped with a real-time camera in the pool.

The Nautilus Exploration Program is operated by The Ocean Exploration Trust which was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard, known for being the man that discovered the wreck of the Titanic. An international organization, it focuses on the exploration and mapping of the ocean floor, and includes scientists in fields ranging from Science Communication to Mapping and Engineering. Their mission is to “explore, locate and describe new habitats, geological processes, cultural sites, and unknown phenomena, establishing a rich foundation of information to catalyze further scientific efforts.” They have certainly met their goal with this bizarre and deadly pool!

For more information about the Program, and how you can participate, visit their website, HERE.

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