What is the meaning of the "very near the surface" in the following sentence:

At first, I found her gravity rather intimidating; but, as I saw more of her, I found that jocularity was very near the surface.


As the narrator came to know her better, they found that she isn't really intimidating, she's actually playful once you peel the first layers.

Very near the surface here means once you know her just a little, you don't need to dig deep to find the playful side of her.

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