Deep beneath the waves, far down on the ocean floor are scenes often associated with the stuff of nightmares – translucent fish with wide black eyes capable of seeing in the dark, shell fish with bioluminescent skeletons and colossal squid, so huge that no one has yet to picture them. All these creatures, though bizarre, are somehow quite expected but it’s doubtful whether many people would imagine a lake lying down there, too.
Underwater lakes are brine pools. And believe it or not, even though people often refer to the ocean as the briney blue, while it’s constituted of salt water it is not brine. Brine refers to water with an extremely high concentration of salt, higher than that of normal sea water. It is produced through salt tectonics, or the movement of large salt deposits.
The earth’s oceans are always in motion, and while tides and currents crash against the coasts, huge cataracts fall for miles within the deep waterfalls on the surface. Seven major cataracts have been found deep below the ocean surface. Most are caused by temperature differences between separate ocean basins. For instance, heavy, cold water at the North and South Poles sinks to the seafloor, where it sweeps along the undersea terrain. It flows downhill, deeper and deeper, until the river finally plunges over into an adjacent ocean basin.
The largest cataract exists beneath the Denmark Strait between Greenland and Iceland. This underwater waterfall drops nearly 11,500 feet, more than three times Venezuela’s Angel Falls, the earth’s highest waterfall at 3,212 feet. The submarine waterfall carries at least 175 million cubic feet of water per second, making it 350 times as voluminous as Guaira Falls on the border of Brazil and Paraguay which was once considered to carry more water than any other waterfall on the earth’s surface.
*Some stock videos of Underwater Waterfalls can be found here.