Scientists have discovered an enormous lethal pool that immediately kills or stuns anything that enters it.
Professor Sam Purkis, part of the team at the University of Miami that found the pool, explained that it is devoid of oxygen and has lethal levels of saline, so any animal that goes into the brine is 'immediately stunned or killed'.
These underwater death traps, which form in the deep ocean, literally pickle animals alive – researchers even once found a crab that had been dead for eight years, but still had its soft tissue intact.
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And if the lack of oxygen and deadly levels of saline weren't enough, brine pools can also contain toxic chemicals like hydrogen sulphide – making them even more dangerous.
While the prospect of an underwater pool with a 100% kill rate might sound horrific, the creepy-sounding pools are good news for predators who can then 'feed on the unlucky' and keep the food chain going.
Speaking to Live Science, Purkis explained the discovery could also help scientists work out how oceans first formed on our planet.
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He said: "Our discovery of a rich community of microbes that survive in extreme environments can help trace the limits of life on Earth and can be applied to the search for life elsewhere in our solar system and beyond.
"Until we understand the limits of life on Earth, it will be difficult to determine if alien planets can host any living beings."
Brine pools are usually found at the bottom of the ocean, where life doesn't tend to thrive – however, these pools offer a 'rich oasis of life', despite what their murderous tendencies may suggest.
“At this great depth, there is ordinarily not much life on the seabed," Purkis explained.
"However, the brine pools are a rich oasis of life. Thick carpets of microbes support a diverse suite of animals."
Some creatures are able to use the brine pools for life. Mussels, for example, often line the edges of the pools, since they can use the methane found in brine pools and turn it into carbon sugar.
The brine pool Purkis' team found was located at a depth of 1,770m using a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV), and the team discovered it in the last five minutes of a whopping 10-hour dive.
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