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The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت , lit. ''the Dead Sea'',The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot") is a
salt lake A salt lake or saline lake is a landlocked body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official wr ...

salt lake
bordered by
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
to the east and
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...

Israel
and the
West Bank The West Bank ( ar, الضفة الغربية '; he, הגדה המערבית ' or ') is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west a ...
to the west. It lies in the
Jordan Rift Valley The Jordan Rift Valley, also Jordan Valley ( he, בִּקְעָת הַיַרְדֵּן Bik'at HaYarden, ar, الغور Al-Ghor or Al-Ghawr), also called the Syro-African Depression, is an elongated Depression (geology), depression located in mo ...
, and its main
tributary A tributary, or affluent, is a stream A stream is a body of water (Lysefjord) in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") ...
is the
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , ima ...

Jordan River
. The lake's surface is below
sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in th ...

sea level
, making its shores the lowest land-based elevation on Earth. It is deep, the deepest
hypersaline lake A hypersaline lake is a landlocked body of water that contains significant concentrations of sodium chloride or other Salt (chemistry), salts, with saline water, saline levels surpassing that of ocean water (3.5%, i.e. ). Specific microbial spec ...
in the world. With a
salinity Salinity () is the saltiness or amount of salt Salt is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific ...

salinity
of 342 g/kg, or 34.2% (in 2011), it is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water – 9.6 times as – and has a
density The density (more precisely, the volumetric mass density; also known as specific mass), of a substance is its per unit . The symbol most often used for density is ''ρ'' (the lower case Greek letter ), although the Latin letter ''D'' can also ...

density
of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to . This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea's main, northern basin is long and wide at its widest point. The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the
Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands around the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by ...
for thousands of years. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for
Herod the Great Herod I (; ; grc-gre, ; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman Empire, Roman client state, client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian Kingdom of Judea, Herodian kingdom. He is known for his colossal building p ...
), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...

Egyptian
mummification A mummy is a dead human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, B ...
to
potash Potash () includes various mined and manufactured salts In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structu ...
for
fertiliser A fertilizer (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, American En ...

fertiliser
s. Today, tourists visit the sea on its Israeli, Jordanian and West Bank coastlines. The Palestinian tourism industry has been met with setbacks in developing along the West Bank coast. The Dead Sea is receding at a swift rate; its surface area today is , having been in 1930. The recession of the Dead Sea has begun causing problems, and multiple canal and pipeline proposals have been made to reduce its recession. One of these proposals is the
Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance The Red Sea–Dead Sea Conveyance, sometimes called the Two Seas Canal, is a planned pipeline to run from the coastal city of Aqaba Aqaba (, also ; ar, العقبة, al-ʿAqaba, al-ʿAgaba, ) is the only coastal city in Jordan Jordan ...
pipeline project, which would provide water to neighbouring countries and carry brine to the Dead Sea to help stabilise its water level.


Etymology and toponymy

In Hebrew, the Dead Sea is ' (), meaning "sea of
salt Salt is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure fo ...

salt
" (
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain * Genesis, a fictional character from the ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'' comic-book series * ''Genes ...

Genesis
14:3). The Bible uses this term alongside two others: the Sea of the Arabah (' ), and the Eastern Sea (' ). The designation "Dead Sea" never appears in the Bible. In Hebrew literature, sometimes the term ' (, "sea of death") is used, due to the scarcity of aquatic life there. In
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
, the Dead Sea is called ("the Dead Sea"), or less commonly ' (, "the Sea of
Lot Lot or LOT may refer to: Common meanings Areas *Land lot, an area of land *Parking lot, for automobiles *Backlot, in movie production Sets of items *Lot number, in batch production *Lot, a set of goods for sale together in an auction; or a quantit ...
"). Another historic name in Arabic was the "Sea of Zoʼar", after a nearby town in biblical times. The Greeks called it 'Lake Asphaltites (
Attic Greek Attic Greek is the Greek language, Greek dialect of the regions of ancient Greece, ancient region of Attica, including the ''polis'' of classical Athens, Athens. Often called classical Greek, it was the prestige (sociolinguistics), prestige diale ...
, ', "the Asphaltite sea").


Geography

The Dead Sea is an
endorheic lake An endorheic lake (also called a sink lake or terminal lake) is a collection of water within an endorheic basin, or sink, with no evident outlet. Endorheic lakes are generally Saline water, saline as a result of being unable to get rid of Solute, ...
located in the
Jordan Rift Valley The Jordan Rift Valley, also Jordan Valley ( he, בִּקְעָת הַיַרְדֵּן Bik'at HaYarden, ar, الغور Al-Ghor or Al-Ghawr), also called the Syro-African Depression, is an elongated Depression (geology), depression located in mo ...
, a geographic feature formed by the
Dead Sea Transform The Dead Sea Transform (DST) fault system, also sometimes referred to as the Dead Sea Rift, is a series of Fault (geology), faults that run from the Maras Triple Junction (a junction with the East Anatolian Fault in southeastern Turkey) to the north ...
(DST). This left lateral-moving
transform fault A transform fault or transform boundary, sometimes called a strike-slip boundary, is a fault Fault commonly refers to: *Fault (geology), planar rock fractures showing evidence of relative movement *Fault (law), blameworthiness or responsibility ...

transform fault
lies along the
tectonic Tectonics (; ) are the processes that control the structure and properties of the Earth's crust and its evolution through time. These include the processes of mountain building A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, gen ...
plate boundary Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. L ...
between the
African Plate The African Plate is a major tectonic plate straddling the Equator The Equator is a circle of latitude, about in circumference, that divides Earth into the Northern Hemisphere, Northern and Southern Hemisphere, Southern hemispheres. It i ...
and the
Arabian Plate The Arabian Plate is a minor tectonic plate in the northern and eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Line ...
. It runs between the
East Anatolian Fault The East Anatolian Fault ( tr, Doğu Anadolu Fay Hattı) is a major strike-slip fault zone in eastern Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia in Western Asia, with a small ...
zone in
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
and the northern end of the
Red Sea Rift The Red Sea Rift is a spreading center between two tectonic plates, the African Plate and the Arabian Plate. It extends from the Dead Sea Transform fault system, and ends at an intersection with the Aden Ridge and the East African Rift, forming the ...
offshore of the southern tip of . It is here that the Upper Jordan River/Sea of Galilee/Lower Jordan River water system comes to an end. The
Jordan River ) , name_native_lang = , name_other = , name_etymology = Hebrew: ירדן (yardén, ''“descender”''), from ירד (yarad, ''“descended”'') , image = 20100923 mer morte13.JPG , image_size = , ima ...

Jordan River
is the only major water source flowing into the Dead Sea, although there are small perennial springs under and around the Dead Sea, forming pools and
quicksand Quicksand is a colloid A colloid is a mixture in which one substance of microscopically dispersed insoluble particles are suspended throughout another substance. However, some definitions specify that the particles must be dispersed in a ...
pits along the edges. There are no outlet streams. The Mujib River, biblical Arnon, is one of the larger water sources of the Dead Sea other than the Jordan. The
Wadi Mujib Wadi Mujib ( ar, وادي الموجب, ''Wadi el-Mujib'', Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as ...

Wadi Mujib
valley, 420 m below the sea level in the southern part of the Jordan valley, is a
biosphere reserve A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, natural or nature preserve, or nature conservation area) is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna, or features of ...

biosphere reserve
, with an area of . Other more substantial sources are Wadi Darajeh (Arabic)/Nahal Dragot (Hebrew), and that ends at
Ein Gedi Ein Gedi ( he, עֵין גֶּדִי), literally "spring of the kid (young goat)" is an oasis and a nature reserve A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, nat ...

Ein Gedi
. Wadi Hasa (biblical Zered) is another
wadi Wadi ( ar, وَادِي, wādī), alternatively ''wād'' ( ar, وَاد), North African Arabic Oued, is the Arabic term traditionally referring to a valley A valley is an elongated low area often running between hills or mountains, ...

wadi
flowing into the Dead Sea. Rainfall is scarcely per year in the northern part of the Dead Sea and barely in the southern part. The Dead Sea zone's aridity is due to the
rainshadow A rain shadow is a dry area on the leeward side of a mountainous area (away from the wind). The mountains block the passage of rain-producing weather systems and cast a "shadow" of dryness behind them. Wind and moist air are drawn by the prevaili ...

rainshadow
effect of the
Judaean Mountains The Judaean Mountains, or Judaean Hills ( he, הרי יהודה ''Harei Yehuda'') or the Hebron Mountains ( ar, جبال الخليل ''Jibal Al Khalil'' (lit. "The Khalil Mountains")), is a mountain range A mountain range is a series of mountai ...
. The
highlands Highlands or uplands are any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, upland (or uplands) refers to ranges of hills, typically up to . Highland (or highlands) is usually reserved for ranges of low mountains. Highland ...

highlands
east of the Dead Sea receive more rainfall than the Dead Sea itself. To the west of the Dead Sea, the Judaean mountains rise less steeply and are much lower than the mountains to the east. Along the southwestern side of the lake is a tall
halite Halite (), commonly known as rock salt, is a type of salt Salt is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition a ...
mineral formation called
Mount Sodom Salt cave in Mount Sodom Mount Sodom ( he, הר סדום, ''Har Sedom'') is a hill along the southwestern part of the Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت The first article ''al-'' ...

Mount Sodom
.


Geology


Formation theories

There are two contending hypotheses about the origin of the low elevation of the Dead Sea. The older hypothesis is that the Dead Sea lies in a true rift zone, an extension of the
Red Sea Rift The Red Sea Rift is a spreading center between two tectonic plates, the African Plate and the Arabian Plate. It extends from the Dead Sea Transform fault system, and ends at an intersection with the Aden Ridge and the East African Rift, forming the ...
, or even of the
Great Rift Valley The Great Rift Valley is a series of contiguous geographic trenches, approximately in total length, that runs from the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon Lebanon (), officially known as the Lebanese Republic,''Republic of Lebanon'' is the most co ...
of
eastern Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa is the eastern sub-region A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south or southern, are commonly used to define a subr ...
. A more recent hypothesis is that the Dead Sea basin is a consequence of a "step-over" discontinuity along the Dead Sea Transform, creating an extension of the crust with consequent subsidence.


Sedom Lagoon

During the late
Pliocene The Pliocene ( ; also Pleiocene) epoch (geology), Epoch is the epoch in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.333 million to 2.58Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
, around 3.7 million years ago, what is now the valley of the Jordan River, Dead Sea, and the northern
Wadi Arabah The Arabah ( ar, وادي عربة, ''Wādī ʻAraba''), or Arava / Aravah ( he, הָעֲרָבָה, ''HaAravah'', lit. "desolate and dry area"), as it is known by its respective Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The ...

Wadi Arabah
was repeatedly inundated by waters from the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
. The waters formed in a narrow, crooked bay that is called by geologists the Sedom Lagoon, which was connected to the sea through what is now the
Jezreel Valley The Jezreel Valley (from the he, עמק יזרעאל, translit. Transliteration is a type of conversion of a text from one script to another that involves swapping Letter (alphabet), letters (thus ''wikt:trans-#Prefix, trans-'' + ''wikt ...

Jezreel Valley
. The floods of the valley came and went depending on long-scale changes in the tectonic and climatic conditions. The Sedom Lagoon extended at its maximum from the
Sea of Galilee The Sea of Galilee ( he, יָם כִּנֶּרֶת, Judeo-Aramaic Judaeo-Aramaic languages represent a group of Hebrew-influenced Aramaic and Neo-Aramaic languages The Neo-Aramaic or Modern Aramaic languages are varieties of Aramaic ...

Sea of Galilee
in the north to somewhere around south of the current southern end of the Dead Sea, and the subsequent lakes never surpassed this expanse. The was never part of any of these water bodies due to its higher elevation and the high threshold of the separating it from the Sea of Galilee basin.


Salt deposits

The Sedom Lagoon deposited
evaporites evaporated from the Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت The first article ''al-'' is unnecessary and usually not used. or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, ''lit.'' "Lake/Sea of Lot" ...
mainly consisting of
rock salt Halite (), commonly known as rock salt, is a type of salt Salt is a mineral composed primarily of sodium chloride (NaCl), a chemical compound belonging to the larger class of Salt (chemistry), salts; salt in its natural form as a crysta ...

rock salt
, which eventually reached a thickness of on the old basin floor in the area of today's Mount Sedom.


Lake formation

Approximately two million years ago, the land between the
Rift Valley A rift valley is a linear shaped lowland between several Highland, highlands or mountain ranges created by the action of a geologic rift. Rifts are formed as a result of the pulling apart of the lithosphere due to extensional tectonics. The ...
and the Mediterranean Sea rose to such an extent that the ocean could no longer flood the area. Thus, the long lagoon became a landlocked lake. The first prehistoric lake to follow the Sedom Lagoon is named Lake Amora (which possibly appeared in the early Pleistocene; its sediments developed into the Amora (Samra) Formation, dated to over 200-80
kyr The abbreviation kyr means "thousand years". Kyr was formerly common in some English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A langua ...
BP), followed by Lake Lisan (c. 70-14 kyr) and finally by the Dead Sea.


Lake salinity

The water levels and salinity of the successive lakes (Amora, Lisan, Dead Sea) have either risen or fallen as an effect of the tectonic dropping of the valley bottom, and due to climate variation. As the climate became more arid, Lake Lisan finally shrank and became saltier, leaving the Dead Sea as its last remainder. From 70,000 to 12,000 years ago, Lake Lisan's level was to higher than its current level. Its level fluctuated dramatically, rising to its highest level around 26,000 years ago, indicating a very wet climate in the
Near East The Near East ( ar, الشرق الأدنى, al-Sharq al-'Adnā, he, המזרח הקרוב, arc, ܕܢܚܐ ܩܪܒ, fa, خاور نزدیک, Xāvar-e nazdik, tr, Yakın Doğu) is a geographical term which roughly encompasses a transcontinental ...
. Around 10,000 years ago, the lake's level dropped dramatically, probably even lower than today. During the last several thousand years, the lake has fluctuated approximately , with some significant drops and rises. Current theories as to the cause of this dramatic drop in levels rule out
volcanic activity A volcano is a rupture in the Crust (geology), crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and Volcanic gas, gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. On Earth, volcanoes are most often fo ...

volcanic activity
; therefore, it may have been a seismic event.


Salt mounts formation

In
prehistoric times Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, and linguistics, ...
, great amounts of sediment collected on the floor of Lake Amora. The sediment was heavier than the salt deposits and squeezed the salt deposits upwards into what are now the Lisan Peninsula and
Mount Sodom Salt cave in Mount Sodom Mount Sodom ( he, הר סדום, ''Har Sedom'') is a hill along the southwestern part of the Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت The first article ''al-'' ...

Mount Sodom
(on the southwest side of the lake). Geologists explain the effect in terms of a bucket of mud into which a large flat stone is placed, forcing the mud to creep up the sides of the bucket. When the floor of the Dead Sea dropped further due to tectonic forces, the salt mounts of Lisan and Mount Sodom stayed in place as high cliffs (see
salt dome A salt dome is a type of structural dome formed when salt (or other evaporite An evaporite () is a water-soluble Solubility is the property of a solid, liquid or gaseous chemical substance called ''solution, solute'' to dissolve in a s ...
).


Climate

The Dead Sea has a
hot desert climate The desert climate or arid climate (in the Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used systems. It was first published by German-Russian (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modific ...
(
Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification Climate classification is a way of categorizing the world's s. A climate classification may correlate closely with a category, as climate is a major infl ...
BWh), with year-round sunny skies and dry air. It has less than mean annual rainfall and a summer average temperature between . Winter average temperatures range between . The region has weaker
ultraviolet radiation Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, ...

ultraviolet radiation
, particularly the UVB (erythrogenic rays). Given the higher
atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer A barometer is a scientific instrument that is used to measure air pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer), is the ...
, the air has a slightly higher
oxygen Oxygen is the chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg, 400px, Periodic table, The periodic table of the chemical elements In chemistry, an element is a pure substance consisting only of atoms that all have the same ...

oxygen
content (3.3% in summer to 4.8% in winter) as compared to oxygen concentration at sea level. Barometric pressures at the Dead Sea were measured between 1061 and 1065 hPa and clinically compared with health effects at higher altitude. (This barometric measure is about 5% higher than sea level standard atmospheric pressure of 1013.25 hPa, which is the global ocean mean or ATM.) The Dead Sea affects temperatures nearby because of the moderating effect a large body of water has on climate. During the winter, sea temperatures tend to be higher than land temperatures, and vice versa during the summer months. This is the result of the water's mass and
specific heat capacity In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energy, entropy, and the physical properties of matter and radiation. The behavior of these qua ...
. On average, there are 192 days above annually.


Chemistry

With 34.2%
salinity Salinity () is the saltiness or amount of salt Salt is a mineral In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific ...

salinity
(in 2011), it is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, though
Lake Vanda Lake Vanda is a lake in Wright Valley, Victoria Land Victoria Land is a region in eastern Antarctica Antarctica ( or ) is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of th ...
in
Antarctica Antarctica ( or ) is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Oc ...

Antarctica
(35%), Lake Assal in
Djibouti Djibouti, ar, جيبوتي ', french: link=no, Djibouti, so, Jabuuti officially the Republic of Djibouti, is a country located in the Horn of Africa The Horn of Africa (HoA), also known as the Somali Peninsula, is a large peninsu ...

Djibouti
(34.8%), Lagoon Garabogazköl in the
Caspian Sea The Caspian Sea (also known as Mazandaran Sea, Hyrcanian Ocean, or Khazar Sea), tk, Hazar deňzi, az, Xəzər Dənizi, russian: Каспийское море, script=Latn, fa, دریای مازندران، دریای خزر, script=Latn, tly, ...

Caspian Sea
(up to 35%) and some hypersaline ponds and lakes of the
McMurdo Dry Valleys The McMurdo Dry Valleys are a row of largely Antarctic oasis, snow-free valleys in Antarctica, located within Victoria Land west of McMurdo Sound. The Dry Valleys experience extremely low humidity and surrounding mountains prevent the flow of ...
in
Antarctica Antarctica ( or ) is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Oc ...

Antarctica
(such as Don Juan Pond (44%)) have reported higher salinities. In the 19th century and the early 20th century, the surface layers of the Dead Sea were less salty than today, which resulted in an average density in the range of 1.15-1.17 g/cm3 instead of the present value of around 1.25 g/cm3. A sample tested by Bernays in the 19th century had a salinity of 19%. By the year 1926, the salinity had increased (although it was also suspected that the salinity varies seasonally and depends on the distance from the mouth of the
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
). Until the winter of 1978–79, when a major mixing event took place, the Dead Sea was composed of two stratified layers of water that differed in temperature, density, age, and salinity. The topmost or so of the Dead Sea had an average salinity of about 30%, and a temperature that swung between and . Underneath a zone of transition, the lowest level of the Dead Sea had waters of a consistent temperature, salinity of over 34%, and complete saturation of
sodium chloride Sodium chloride , commonly known as salt (although sea salt also contains other chemical salt (chemistry), salts), is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl, representing a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride ions. With Molar mass, molar ...
(NaCl). Since the water near the bottom is saturated with NaCl, that salt precipitates out of solution onto the
sea floor The seabed (also known as the seafloor, sea floor, or ocean floor) is the bottom of the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
. Beginning in the 1960s, water inflow to the Dead Sea from the Jordan River was reduced as a result of large-scale irrigation and generally low rainfall. By 1975, the upper water layer was saltier than the lower layer. Nevertheless, the upper layer remained suspended above the lower layer because its waters were warmer and thus less dense. When the upper layer cooled so its density was greater than the lower layer, the waters mixed (1978–79). For the first time in centuries, the lake was a homogeneous body of water. Since then,
stratification Stratification may refer to: In mathematics: * Stratification (mathematics), any consistent assignment of numbers to predicate symbols * Stratified sampling , Data stratification in statistics In earth sciences: * Stable and unstable stratificati ...
has begun to redevelop. The mineral content of the Dead Sea is very different from that of ocean water. The exact composition of the Dead Sea water varies mainly with season, depth and temperature. In the early 1980s, the concentration of ionic species (in g/kg) of Dead Sea surface water was Cl (181.4), Br (4.2), SO42− (0.4), HCO3 (0.2), Ca2+ (14.1), Na+ (32.5), K+ (6.2) and Mg2+ (35.2). The total salinity was 276 g/kg. These results show that the composition of the salt, as anhydrous chlorides on a weight percentage basis, was
calcium chloride Calcium chloride is an inorganic compound, a salt with the chemical formula CaCl2. It is a white coloured crystalline solid at room temperature, and it is highly soluble in water. It can be created by neutralising hydrochloric acid with calc ...

calcium chloride
(CaCl2) 14.4%,
potassium chloride Potassium chloride (KCl, or potassium salt) is a metal halide Metal halides are compounds between metals and halogens. Some, such as sodium chloride are ionic, while others are covalently bonded. Covalently bonded metal halides may be discrete m ...

potassium chloride
(KCl) 4.4%,
magnesium chloride Magnesium chloride is the name for the chemical compound A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entity, molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one chemical element, element ...

magnesium chloride
(MgCl2) 50.8% and
sodium chloride Sodium chloride , commonly known as salt (although sea salt also contains other chemical salt (chemistry), salts), is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl, representing a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride ions. With Molar mass, molar ...
(NaCl) 30.4%. In comparison, the salt in the water of most
ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
s and
sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
sea
s is approximately 85%
sodium chloride Sodium chloride , commonly known as salt (although sea salt also contains other chemical salt (chemistry), salts), is an ionic compound with the chemical formula NaCl, representing a 1:1 ratio of sodium and chloride ions. With Molar mass, molar ...
. The concentration of
sulfate The sulfate or sulphate ion is a polyatomic anion An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having ...

sulfate
ions (SO42−) is very low, and the concentration of
bromide A bromide ion An ion () is an atom An atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that ...
ions (Br) is the highest of all waters on Earth. The salt concentration of the Dead Sea fluctuates around 31.5%. This is unusually high and results in a nominal density of 1.24 kg/l. Anyone can easily float in the Dead Sea because of natural
buoyancy Buoyancy (), or upthrust, is an upward exerted by a that opposes the of a partially or fully immersed object. In a column of fluid, pressure increases with depth as a result of the weight of the overlying fluid. Thus the pressure at the bo ...

buoyancy
. In this respect the Dead Sea is similar to the
Great Salt Lake The Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah, is the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, and the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world. In an average year the lake covers an area of approximat ...

Great Salt Lake
in
Utah Utah ( , ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mountain states, Mountain West subregion of the Western United States. Utah is a landlocked U.S. state bordered to its east by Colorado, to its northeast by Wyoming, to its north by Idaho, to its so ...

Utah
in the United States. An unusual feature of the Dead Sea is its discharge of
asphalt Asphalt, also known as bitumen (, ), is a sticky, black, highly viscous The viscosity of a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or externa ...

asphalt
. From deep seeps, the Dead Sea constantly spits up small pebbles and blocks of the black substance. Asphalt-coated figurines and bitumen-coated
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
skulls from
archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote ...

archaeological
sites have been found.
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...

Egyptian
mummification A mummy is a dead human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, B ...
processes used asphalt imported from the Dead Sea region.


Putative therapies

The Dead Sea area has become a location for
health Health, according to the World Health Organization The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous organizations working with the United Nations and each ...

health
research Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge". It involves the collection, organization and analysis of information to increase understanding of a topic or issue. A research project may be an expa ...

research
and potential treatment for several reasons. The mineral content of the water, the low content of
pollen Pollen is a powdery substance consisting of pollen grains which are microsporophytes of seed plants The spermatophytes (; ), also known as phanerogams (taxon Phanerogamae) or phaenogams (taxon Phaenogamae), comprise those plant Plant ...

pollen
s and other
allergen An allergen is a type of antigen In immunology Immunology is a branch of biology that covers the study of immune systems in all organisms. Immunology charts, measures, and contextualizes the Physiology, physiological functioning of the im ...
s in the
atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in ...

atmosphere
, the reduced
ultraviolet Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation In physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, ...

ultraviolet
component of
solar radiation Solar irradiance is the power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one j ...

solar radiation
, and the higher
atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer A barometer is a scientific instrument that is used to measure air pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer), is the ...
at this great depth each may have specific
health effect Health effects (or health impacts) are changes in health Health is a state of physical, mental and social well-being Well-being, also known as ''wellness'', ''prudential value'' or ''quality of life'', refers to what is intrinsically valuab ...
s. For example, persons experiencing reduced
respiratory The respiratory system (also respiratory apparatus, ventilatory system) is a biological system A biological system is a complex network Network and networking may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * ''Network'' (1976 film), a 1976 Ame ...
function from
disease A disease is a particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interactin ...
s such as
cystic fibrosis Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disorder A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome. It can be caused by a mutation in a single gene In biology, a gene (from ''genos'' "...Wilhelm Johan ...
seem to benefit from the increased atmospheric pressure. The region's climate and low elevation have made it a popular center for assessment of putative therapies: *
Climatotherapy Climatotherapy refers to temporary or permanent relocation of a patient to a region with a climate more favourable to recovery from or management of a condition. Examples include: * The partial pressure of oxygen is lower at high altitude, so person ...
: Treatment which exploits local climatic features such as temperature, humidity, Sunlight, sunshine, Atmospheric pressure, barometric pressure and special atmospheric constituents *Light therapy, Heliotherapy: Treatment that exploits the biological effects of the sun's radiation *Thalassotherapy: Treatment that exploits bathing in Dead Sea water Climatotherapy at the Dead Sea may be a therapy for psoriasis by sunbathing for long periods in the area due to its position below sea level and subsequent result that UV rays are partially blocked by the increased thickness of the atmosphere over the Dead Sea. Rhinosinusitis patients receiving Dead Sea saline nasal irrigation exhibited improved symptom relief compared to standard hypertonic saline spray in one study. Dead Sea mud pack therapy has been suggested to temporarily relieve pain in patients with osteoarthritis of the knees. According to researchers of the Ben Gurion University of the Negev, treatment with mineral-rich mud compresses can be used to augment conventional medical therapy.


Fauna and flora

The sea is called "dead" because its high salinity prevents macroscopic aquatic organisms, such as fish and aquatic plants, from living in it, though minuscule quantities of bacteria and microbial fungi are present. In times of flood, the salt content of the Dead Sea can drop from its usual 35% to 30% or lower. The Dead Sea temporarily comes to life in the wake of rainy winters. In 1980, after one such rainy winter, the normally dark blue Dead Sea turned red. Researchers from Hebrew University of Jerusalem found the Dead Sea to be teeming with an alga called ''Dunaliella''. ''Dunaliella'' in turn nourished carotenoid-containing (red-pigmented) halobacteria, whose presence caused the color change. Since 1980, the Dead Sea basin has been dry and the algae and the bacteria have not returned in measurable numbers. In 2011 a group of scientists from Be'er Sheva, Israel and Germany discovered fissures in the floor of the Dead Sea by scuba diving and observing the surface. These fissures allow fresh and brackish water to enter the Dead Sea. They sampled biofilms surrounding the fissures and discovered numerous species of bacteria and archaea. Many animal species live in the mountains surrounding the Dead Sea. Hikers can see ibex, hares, hyraxes, jackals, foxes, and even Arabian Leopard, leopards. Hundreds of bird species inhabit the zone as well. Both Jordan and Israel have established nature reserves around the Dead Sea. The delta of the Jordan River was formerly a jungle of Cyperus papyrus, papyrus and Arecaceae, palm trees. The Jewish historian Josephus, Flavius Josephus described Jericho as "the most fertile spot in Judea". In Ancient Rome, Roman and Byzantine Empire, Byzantine times, sugarcane, henna, and Ficus sycomorus, sycamore fig all made the lower Jordan valley wealthy. One of the most valuable products produced by Jericho was the Balsam of Mecca, sap of the Commiphora, balsam tree, which could be made into perfume. By the 19th century, Jericho's fertility had disappeared.


Human settlement

There are several small communities near the Dead Sea. These include
Ein Gedi Ein Gedi ( he, עֵין גֶּדִי), literally "spring of the kid (young goat)" is an oasis and a nature reserve A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, nat ...

Ein Gedi
, Neve Zohar and the Israeli settlements in the Megilot Regional Council: Kalya, Mitzpe Shalem and Avnat. There is a nature preserve at Ein Gedi, and several Dead Sea hotels are located on the southwest end at Ein Bokek near Neve Zohar. Highway 90 (Israel–Palestine), Highway 90 runs north–south on the Israeli side for a total distance of from Metula on the Lebanon, Lebanese border in the north to its southern terminus at the Egyptian border near the Red Sea port of Eilat. Potash City is a small community on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, and others including Suweima. Highway 65 (Jordan), Highway 65 runs north–south on the Jordanian side from near Jordan's northern tip down past the Dead Sea to the port of Aqaba.


Human history


Biblical period

Dwelling in caves near the Dead Sea is recorded in the Hebrew Bible as having taken place before the Israelites came to Canaan, and extensively at the time of King David. Just northwest of the Dead Sea is Jericho. Somewhere, perhaps on the southeastern shore, would be the cities mentioned in the Book of Genesis which were said to have been destroyed in the time of Abraham: Sodom and Gomorrah, Sodom and Gomorra (Genesis 18) and the three other "Cities of the Plain", Admah, Zeboim (Hebrew Bible), Zeboim and Zoara, Zoar (Deuteronomy 29:23). Zoar escaped destruction when Abraham's nephew
Lot Lot or LOT may refer to: Common meanings Areas *Land lot, an area of land *Parking lot, for automobiles *Backlot, in movie production Sets of items *Lot number, in batch production *Lot, a set of goods for sale together in an auction; or a quantit ...
escaped to Zoar from Sodom (Genesis 19:21–22). Before the destruction, the Dead Sea was a valley full of natural tar pits, which was called the vale of Siddim. King David was said to have hidden from Saul at Ein Gedi nearby. In Ezekiel 47:8–9 there is a specific prophecy that the sea will "be healed and made fresh", becoming a normal lake capable of supporting marine biology, marine life. A similar prophecy is stated in Zechariah 14:8, which says that "living waters will go out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea [likely the Dead Sea] and half to the western sea [the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean]."


Greek and Roman period

Aristotle wrote about the remarkable waters. The Nabataeans, Nabateans and others discovered the value of the globs of natural
asphalt Asphalt, also known as bitumen (, ), is a sticky, black, highly viscous The viscosity of a fluid In physics, a fluid is a substance that continually Deformation (mechanics), deforms (flows) under an applied shear stress, or externa ...

asphalt
that constantly floated to the surface where they could be harvested with nets. The Egyptians were steady customers, as they used asphalt in the embalming process that created mummy, mummies. The Ancient Rome, Ancient Romans knew the Dead Sea as "''Palus Asphaltites''" (Asphalt Lake). The Dead Sea was an important trade route with ships carrying salt, asphalt and agricultural produce. Multiple anchorages existed on both sides of the sea, including in
Ein Gedi Ein Gedi ( he, עֵין גֶּדִי), literally "spring of the kid (young goat)" is an oasis and a nature reserve A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, nat ...

Ein Gedi
, Khirbet Mazin (where the ruins of a Hasmonean dynasty, Hasmonean-era dry dock are located), Numeira and near Masada. King
Herod the Great Herod I (; ; grc-gre, ; c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman Empire, Roman client state, client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian Kingdom of Judea, Herodian kingdom. He is known for his colossal building p ...
built or rebuilt several fortresses and palaces on the western bank of the Dead Sea. The most famous was Masada, where in 70 CE a small group of Jewish Zealotry, zealots fled after the fall of the destruction of the Siege of Jerusalem (70), Second Temple. The zealots survived until 73 CE, when a siege by the Roman legion, X Legion ended in the deaths by suicide of its 960 inhabitants. Another historically important fortress was Machaerus (מכוור), on the eastern bank, where, according to Josephus, John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod Antipas and died. Also in Roman times, some Essenes settled on the Dead Sea's western shore; Pliny the Elder identifies their location with the words, "on the west side of the Dead Sea, away from the coast ... [above] the town of Engeda" (''Natural History'', Bk 5.73); and it is therefore a hugely popular but contested hypothesis today, that same Essenes are identical with the settlers at Qumran and that "the Dead Sea Scrolls" discovered during the 20th century in the nearby caves had been their own library. Josephus identified the Dead Sea in geographic proximity to the ancient Biblical city of Sodom and Gomorrah, Sodom. However, he referred to the lake by its Greek name, Asphaltites. Various sects of Jews settled in caves overlooking the Dead Sea. The best known of these are the Essenes of Qumran, who left an extensive library known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The town of
Ein Gedi Ein Gedi ( he, עֵין גֶּדִי), literally "spring of the kid (young goat)" is an oasis and a nature reserve A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, nat ...

Ein Gedi
, mentioned many times in the Mishna, produced persimmon for the temple's fragrance and for export, using a secret recipe. "Sodomite salt" was an essential mineral for the temple's holy incense, but was said to be dangerous for home use and could cause blindness. The Roman camps surrounding Masada were built by Jewish slaves receiving water from the towns around the lake. These towns had drinking water from the Ein Feshcha springs and other sweetwater springs in the vicinity.


Byzantine period

Intimately connected with the Judean wilderness to its northwest and west, the Dead Sea was a place of escape and refuge. The remoteness of the region attracted Greek Orthodox Church, Greek Orthodox monks since the Byzantine Empire, Byzantine era. Their monastery, monasteries, such as Saint George in Wadi Kelt and Mar Saba in the Judaean Desert, are places of pilgrimage.


Modern times

In the 19th century the River Jordan and the Dead Sea were explored by boat primarily by Christopher Costigan in 1835, Thomas Howard Molyneux in 1847, William Francis Lynch in 1848, and John MacGregor (sportsman), John MacGregor in 1869. The full text of W. F. Lynch's 1949 book ''s:Narrative Of The United States Expedition To The River Jordan And The Dead Sea, Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea'' is available online. Charles Leonard Irby and James Mangles (Royal Navy officer), James Mangles travelled along the shores of the Dead Sea already in 1817–18, but didn't navigate on its waters. Explorers and scientists arrived in the area to analyze the minerals and research the unique climate. After the find of the "Mesha Stele, Moabite Stone" in 1868 on the plateau east of the Dead Sea, Moses Wilhelm Shapira and his partner Salim al-Khouri forged and sold a whole range of presumed "Moabite" antiquities, and in 1883 Shapira presented what is now known as the "Shapira Strips", a supposedly ancient scroll written on leather strips which he claimed had been found near the Dead Sea. The strips were declared to be forgeries and Shapira took his own life in disgrace. In the late 1940s and early 1950s, hundreds of religious documents dated between 150 BCE and 70 CE were found in caves near the ancient settlement of Qumran, about inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea (presently in the West Bank). They became known and famous as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The world's lowest roads, Highway 90 (Israel–Palestine), Highway 90, run along the Israeli and West Bank shores of the Dead Sea, along with Highway 65 on the
Jordan Jordan ( ar, الأردن; tr. ' ), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan,; tr. ') is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In ge ...

Jordan
ian side, at below sea level.


Tourism and leisure


British Mandate period

A golf course named for Sodom and Gomorrah was built by the British at Kalya, Kalia on the northern shore.


Israel

The first major Israeli hotels were built in nearby Arad, Israel, Arad, and since the 1960s at the Ein Bokek resort complex. Israel has 15 hotels along the Dead Sea shore, generating total revenues of $291 million in 2012. Most Israeli hotels and resorts on the Dead Sea are on a stretch of the southern shore.


Jordan

On the Jordanian side, nine international franchises have opened seaside resort hotels near the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Center, along with resort apartments, on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The 9 hotels have boosted the Jordanian side's capacity to 2,800 rooms. On November 22, 2015, the Dead Sea panorama road was included along with Google Street View in Jordan, 40 archaeological locations in Jordan, to become live on Google Street View.


West Bank

The portion of Dead Sea coast which Palestinians could possibly eventually manage is about long. The World Bank estimates that such Dead Sea tourism industry could generate $290 million of revenues per year and 2,900 jobs. However, Palestinians have been unable to obtain construction permits for tourism-related investments on the Dead Sea. According to the World Bank, officials in the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities state that the only way to apply for such permits is through the Joint Committees established under the Oslo Agreement, but the relevant committee has not met with any degree of regularity since 2000.


Chemical industry


British Mandate period

In the early part of the 20th century, the Dead Sea began to attract interest from chemists who deduced the sea was a natural deposit of
potash Potash () includes various mined and manufactured salts In chemistry Chemistry is the study of the properties and behavior of . It is a that covers the that make up matter to the composed of s, s and s: their composition, structu ...
(potassium chloride) and bromine. A Concessions in Mandatory Palestine, concession was granted by the British Mandatory government to the newly formed Palestine Potash Company in 1929. Its founder, Siberian Jewish engineer and pioneer of Lake Baikal exploitation, Moshe Novomeysky, Moses Novomeysky, had worked for the charter for over ten years having first visited the area in 1911. The first plant, on the north shore of the Dead Sea at Kalya, commenced production in 1931 and produced potash by solar evaporation of the brine. Employing Arabs and Jews, it was an island of peace in turbulent times. The company quickly grew into the largest industrial site in the Middle East, and in 1934 built a second plant on the southwest shore, in the
Mount Sodom Salt cave in Mount Sodom Mount Sodom ( he, הר סדום, ''Har Sedom'') is a hill along the southwestern part of the Dead Sea The Dead Sea ( he, יָם הַמֶּלַח lit. Sea of Salt; ar, البحر الميت The first article ''al-'' ...

Mount Sodom
area, south of the Lisan Peninsula, 'Lashon' region of the Dead Sea. Palestine Potash Company supplied half of Britain's potash during World War II. Both plants were destroyed by the Jordanians in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.


Israel

The Dead Sea Works was founded in 1952 as a state-owned enterprise based on the remnants of the Palestine Potash Company. In 1995, the company was privatized and it is now owned by Israel Chemicals. From the Dead Sea brine, Israel produces (2001) 1.77 million tons potash, 206,000 tons elemental bromine, 44,900 tons sodium hydroxide, caustic soda, 25,000 tons magnesium metal, and sodium chloride. Israeli companies generate around US$3 billion annually from the sale of Dead Sea minerals (primarily potash and bromine), and from other products that are derived from Dead Sea Minerals.World Bank, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Department
Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy
October 2, 2013


Jordan

On the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, Arab Potash (APC), formed in 1956, produces 2.0 million tons of potash annually, as well as sodium chloride and bromine. The plant is located at Safi, South Aghwar Department, in the Karak Governorate. Jordanian Dead Sea mineral industries generate about $1.2 billion in sales (equivalent to 4 percent of Jordan's GDP).


West Bank

The Palestinian Dead Sea Coast is about long. The Palestinian economy is unable to benefit from Dead Sea chemicals due to restricted access, permit issues and the uncertainties of the investment climate. The World Bank estimates that a Palestinian Dead Sea chemicals industry could generate $918M incremental value added per year, "almost equivalent to the contribution of the entire manufacturing sector of Palestinian territories today".


Extraction

Both companies, Dead Sea Works Ltd. and Arab Potash, use extensive salt pan evaporation, evaporation pans that have essentially diked the entire southern end of the Dead Sea for the purpose of producing carnallite, potassium magnesium chloride, which is then processed further to produce potassium chloride. The Salt evaporation pond, ponds are separated by a central dike that runs roughly north–south along the international border. The power station, power plant on the Israeli side allows production of magnesium metal (by a subsidiary, Dead Sea Magnesium Ltd.). Due to the popularity of the sea's therapeutic and healing properties, several companies have also shown interest in the manufacturing and supplying of Dead Sea salts as raw materials for body and skin care products.


Recession and environmental concerns


Receding shoreline

Since 1930, when its surface was and its level was below sea level, the Dead Sea has been monitored continuously. The Dead Sea has been rapidly shrinking since the 1960s because of diversion of incoming water from the Jordan River to the north as part of the National Water Carrier of Israel, National Water Carrier scheme, completed in 1964. The southern end is fed by a canal maintained by the Dead Sea Works, a company that converts the sea's raw materials. From a water surface of below sea level in 1970 it fell to below sea level in 2006, reaching a drop rate of per year. As the water level decreases, the characteristics of the Sea and surrounding region may substantially change. The Dead Sea level drop has been followed by a groundwater level drop, causing brines that used to occupy underground layers near the shoreline to be flushed out by freshwater. This is believed to be the cause of the recent appearance of large sinkholes along the western shore—incoming freshwater dissolves salt layers, rapidly creating subsurface cavities that subsequently collapse to form these sinkholes.
Ein Gedi Ein Gedi ( he, עֵין גֶּדִי), literally "spring of the kid (young goat)" is an oasis and a nature reserve A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, nat ...

Ein Gedi
, on the western coast, has been subject to a large number of sinkholes appearing in the area, attributed to the decline in the water level of the Dead Sea. , the surface of the Sea has shrunk by about 33 per cent since the 1960s, which is partly attributed to the much-reduced flow of the Jordan River since the construction of the National Water Carrier project, and the amount of water from the rains reaching the Dead Sea has diminished even further since flash floods started pouring into the sinkholes. The EcoPeace Middle East, a joint Israeli-Palestinian-Jordanian environmental group, has estimated that the annual flow into the Dead Sea from the Jordan is less than of water, compared with former flows of between and . Sources: Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, ''Haaretz'', Jordan Valley Authority.


Link to the Red Sea

In May 2009 at the World Economic Forum, Jordan announced its plans to construct the "Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance, Jordan National Red Sea Development Project" (JRSP). This is a plan to convey seawater from the Red Sea near Aqaba to the Dead Sea. Water would be desalinated along the route to provide fresh water to Jordan, with the brine discharge sent to the Dead Sea for replenishment. Israel has expressed its support and will likely benefit from some of the water delivery to its Negev region.Jordan Red Sea Project: Original
Jordan Red Sea Project Description
retrieved on May 11, 2011
At a regional conference in July 2009, officials expressed concern about the declining water levels. Some suggested industrial activities around the Dead Sea might need to be reduced. Others advised environmental measures to restore conditions such as increasing the volume of flow from the Jordan River to replenish the Dead Sea. Currently, only sewage and effluent from fish ponds run in the river's channel. Experts also stressed the need for strict conservation efforts. They said agriculture should not be expanded, sustainable support capabilities should be incorporated into the area and pollution sources should be reduced. In October 2009, the Jordanians announced accelerated plans to extract around of water per year from the Red Sea, desalinate it for use as fresh water and send the waste water to the Dead Sea by tunnel, despite concerns about inadequate time to assess the potential environmental impact. According to Jordan's minister for water, General Maysoun Zu'bi, this project could be considered as the first phase of the
Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance The Red Sea–Dead Sea Conveyance, sometimes called the Two Seas Canal, is a planned pipeline to run from the coastal city of Aqaba Aqaba (, also ; ar, العقبة, al-ʿAqaba, al-ʿAgaba, ) is the only coastal city in Jordan Jordan ...
. In December 2013, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian National Authority, Palestinian Authority signed an agreement for laying a water pipeline to link the Red Sea with the Dead Sea. The pipeline would be long and is estimated to take up to five years to complete. In January 2015 it was reported that the level of water was dropping by a year. On 27 November 2016, it was announced that the Jordanian government was shortlisting five consortia to implement the project. Jordan's ministry of Water and Irrigation said that the $100 million first phase of the project would begin construction in the first quarter of 2018, and would be completed by 2021.


See also

*Aral Sea *Salton Sea *List of drying lakes *List of places on land with elevations below sea level *Mediterranean–Dead Sea Canal *''World Discoveries III: Dead Sea'' *Benjamin Elazari Volcani *PEF rock with the Dead Sea level reference line used between 1900 and 1913


References


Further reading

*The World Bank, 2013
"The Red Sea - Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program"
and source of basic data on the Dead Sea. *Yehouda Enzel, et al., eds (2006) ''New Frontiers in Dead Sea Paleoenvironmental Research'', Geological Society of America, *Niemi, Tina M., Zvi Ben-Avraham, Ben-Avraham, Z., and Gat, J., eds., 1997, The Dead Sea: The Lake and Its Setting: N.Y., Oxford University Press, 286 p. * World Bank, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Department
Area C and the Future of the Palestinian Economy
October 2, 2013


External links

* * (:voy:Dead Sea (Israel and the West Bank), Israeli and West Bank part and :voy:Dead Sea (Jordan), Jordanian part) * {{Authority control Dead Sea, Endorheic lakes of Asia Extreme points of Earth Lowest points Bodies of water of Jordan Lakes of Israel Catholic pilgrimage sites Sacred lakes Shrunken lakes Hebrew Bible geography Lakes of the West Bank Saline lakes of Asia Israel–Jordan border Borders of the West Bank International lakes of Asia Articles containing video clips