Brine Pools: What They Are

For the most part, deadly

By: Thomas J Ahern, Journalist

When we are thinking about brine pools, we need you to imagine a hole at the bottom of the ocean, ranging between 1 meter to 120 kilometers. These holes, brine pools, are the saltiest parts of the entire ocean. They are essentially lakes of death, with barely anything able to survive within them. Brine pools have super salinated, low oxygen waters which are deadly to many forms of life. They are found in the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the red sea. The water in most of these is 4 times as salty as the surrounding water, and it only gets saltier over time. There are some Brine pools that are as old as the Jurassic period, and about 8 times saltier than the surrounding ocean. It is full of highly toxic concentrations of methane and hydrogen sulfide. Bacteria, tubeworms, and shrimp are among the few species that can survive down here. The Brine Pools are separated from the rest of the ocean by a thin wall, so it is necessary not to puncture this wall, as that would kill a lot of ocean life. The Brine pools are also incredibly dense. If you were in a submarine down there, it would float above the brine pool like a ship above the ocean.

How Brine Pools are Created

Creation of Brine pools would have likely started around Jurassic times. One way that they would have been created would be when seawater finds cracks in the bottom of the ocean. It then mixes with salt deposits, and is pushed up by the methane gas even further beneath the surface. The way the cracks and salt are in large concentrations is also interesting. The cracks are created by moving tectonic plates, and the salt gets there when a portion of a large body of water evaporates, creating huge concentrations of salt.

A Possible Good Side

We could use these for a potential fuel, and with them being so old, show us what early earth looked like. If we wanted to search for life on other planets, we might look for brine pools for us to see if it is possible.

Overall, brine pools are very dangerous, mysterious, and therefore very interesting.


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