'Jacuzzi of Despair' lake discovered beneath Gulf of Mexico

It's called the "Jacuzzi of Despair," and anything that wanders into its depths does not return.

Crabs and other pickled crustaceans litter the edges of the toxic pool.

The underwater lake, which is four-times more salty than the surrounding water is one of the finds as part of the E/V Nautilis expedition along the ocean floor.

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"It was one of the most amazing things in the deep sea," Erik Cordes, associate professor of biology at Temple University who discovered the site, told Seeker. "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."

The Nautilus is exploring and studying the biology, geology and archeology along the ocean floor.

The circular pool is about 100 feet wide, 12 feet deep and 3,300 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. The dense, warm brine water sits at the bottom. Pockets of salt and methane are released from beneath.

Mussels line the walls helping to hold together the canyon-like formation. Researchers noted the the number of preserved crustaceans and hypothesized if they mistakenly wandered in or knowingly went in to die.

"It's warm, but super salty," Scott Wankel, a biogeochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said, noting it's about 65 degrees while the surrounding water is 39. "When they fall in they die and get pickled and preserved."

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