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The DEAD SEA (Hebrew : יָם הַמֶּלַח‎ _ Yam ha-Melah_ lit. SALT SEA, Arabic : البحر الميت‎‎ _ Al-Bahr al-Mayyit_ ), is a salt lake bordered by Jordan
Jordan
to the east and Israel
Israel
and Palestine to the west. Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level , Earth's lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea
Sea
is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2%, (in 2011), it is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean , and one of the world\'s saltiest bodies of water . This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea
Sea
is 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and 15 kilometres (9 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan
Jordan
Rift Valley and its main tributary is the Jordan
Jordan
River .

The Dead Sea
Sea
has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great
Herod the Great
), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers . People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea
Sea
to create cosmetics and herbal sachets .

The Dead Sea
Sea
water has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating .

The Dead Sea
Sea
is receding at an alarming rate. Multiple canals and pipelines were proposed to reduce its recession, which had begun causing many problems. The Red Sea–Dead Sea
Sea
Water
Water
Conveyance project, carried out by Jordan
Jordan
, will provide water to neighboring countries, while the brine will be carried to the Dead Sea
Sea
to help stabilize its levels. The first phase of the project is scheduled to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2021.

CONTENTS

* 1 Etymology and toponymy * 2 Geography * 3 Natural history * 4 Climate * 5 Chemistry

* 6 Putative therapies

* 6.1 Psoriasis * 6.2 Rhinosinusitis * 6.3 Osteoarthritis

* 7 Fauna and flora * 8 Human settlement

* 9 Human history

* 9.1 Biblical period * 9.2 Greek and Roman period * 9.3 Byzantine period * 9.4 Modern times

* 10 Tourism and leisure

* 10.1 British Mandate period * 10.2 Israel
Israel
* 10.3 Jordan
Jordan
* 10.4 West Bank
West Bank

* 11 Chemical industry

* 11.1 British Mandate period * 11.2 Israel
Israel
* 11.3 Jordan
Jordan
* 11.4 West Bank
West Bank
* 11.5 Extraction

* 12 Recession and environmental concerns * 13 See also * 14 References * 15 Further reading * 16 External links

ETYMOLOGY AND TOPONYMY

In Hebrew, the Dead Sea
Sea
is _ Yām ha-Melaḥ (help ·info )_ (ים המלח‎), meaning "sea of salt " (Genesis 14:3). The Bible uses this term alongside two others: the Sea
Sea
of the Arabah
Arabah
(_Yām ha-‘Ărāvâ_ ים הערבה‎), and the Eastern Sea
Sea
(_Yām ha-Mizraḥî_ ים המזרחי‎). The designation "Dead Sea" never appears in the Bible.

In prose sometimes the term _Yām ha-Māvet_ (ים המוות‎, "sea of death") is used, due to the scarcity of aquatic life there. In Arabic the Dead Sea
Sea
is called _ al-Bahr al-Mayyit_ (help ·info ) ("the Dead Sea"), or less commonly _baḥrᵘ lūṭᵃ_ (بحر لوط, "the Sea
Sea
of Lot "). Another historic name in Arabic was the " Sea
Sea
of Zoʼar ", after a nearby town in biblical times. The Greeks called it _Lake Asphaltites_ ( Attic Greek ἡ Θάλαττα ἀσφαλτῖτης, _hē Thálatta asphaltĩtēs_, "the Asphaltite sea").

GEOGRAPHY

Satellite photograph showing the location of the Dead Sea
Sea
east of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea

The Dead Sea
Sea
is an endorheic lake located in the Jordan
Jordan
Rift Valley , a geographic feature formed by the Dead Sea Transform (DST). This left lateral-moving transform fault lies along the tectonic plate boundary between the African Plate and the Arabian Plate . It runs between the East Anatolian Fault zone in Turkey
Turkey
and the northern end of the Red Sea
Sea
Rift offshore of the southern tip of Sinai . It is here that the Upper Jordan
Jordan
River/ Sea
Sea
of Galilee/Lower Jordan
Jordan
River water system comes to an end.

The Jordan
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 pits along the edges. There are no outlet streams.

The Mujib River, biblical Arnon, is one the larger water sources of the Dead Sea
Sea
other than the Jordan. The Wadi Mujib valley, 420 m below the sea level in the southern of Jordan
Jordan
valley, is a biosphere reserve , with an area of 212 km2 (82 sq mi ). Other more substantial sources are Wadi
Wadi
Darajeh (Arabic)/Nahal Dragot (Hebrew), and Nahal Arugot . Wadi Hasa (biblical Zered) is another wadi flowing into the Dead Sea.

Rainfall is scarcely 100 mm (4 in) per year in the northern part of the Dead Sea
Sea
and barely 50 mm (2 in) in the southern part. The Dead Sea
Sea
zone's aridity is due to the rainshadow effect of the Judaean Mountains . The highlands east of the Dead Sea
Sea
receive more rainfall than the Dead Sea
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 210 m (700 ft) tall halite formation called " Mount Sodom ".

NATURAL HISTORY

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 , or even of the Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa
Africa
. A more recent hypothesis is that the Dead Sea
Sea
basin is a consequence of a "step-over" discontinuity along the Dead Sea
Sea
Transform, creating an extension of the crust with consequent subsidence.

Around 3.7 million years ago, what is now the valley of the Jordan River, Dead Sea, and the northern Wadi
Wadi
Arabah
Arabah
was repeatedly inundated by waters from the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
. 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 floods of the valley came and went depending on long-scale climate change . The Sedom Lagoon deposited beds of salt that eventually became 2.5 km (1.55 mi) thick.

Approximately two million years ago, the land between the Rift Valley and the Mediterranean Sea
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 Sedom Lagoon extended at its maximum from the Sea
Sea
of Galilee in the north to somewhere around 50 km (30 mi) south of the current southern end of the Dead Sea, and the subsequent lakes obviously never surpassed this expanse. The Hula Depression was never part of any of these water bodies due to its higher elevation and the high threshold of the Korazim block separating it from the Sea of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
basin.

The first prehistoric lake to follow the Sedom Lagoon is named Lake Amora , followed by Lake Lisan and finally by the Dead Sea. The water levels and salinity of these lakes 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
Sea
as its last remainder. Pebbles cemented with halite on the western shore of the Dead Sea
Sea
near Ein Gedi.

In prehistoric times , 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 (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
Sea
dropped further due to tectonic forces, the salt mounts of Lisan and Mount Sodom stayed in place as high cliffs (see salt dome ).

From 70,000 to 12,000 years ago, the lake's level was 100 m (330 ft) to 250 m (820 ft) higher than its current level. This lake, Lake Lisan, fluctuated dramatically, rising to its highest level around 26,000 years ago, indicating a very wet climate in the Near East
Near East
. Around 10,000 years ago, the lake's level dropped dramatically, probably to even lower than today's. During the last several thousand years, the lake has fluctuated approximately 400 m (1,300 ft), with some significant drops and rises. Current theories as to the cause of this dramatic drop in levels rule out volcanic activity ; therefore, it may have been a seismic event.

CLIMATE

The Dead Sea's climate offers year-round sunny skies and dry air. It has less than 50 millimetres (2 in) mean annual rainfall and a summer average temperature between 32 and 39 °C (90 and 102 °F). Winter average temperatures range between 20 and 23 °C (68 and 73 °F). The region has weaker ultraviolet radiation , particularly the UVB (erythrogenic rays). Given the higher atmospheric pressure , the air has a slightly higher 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
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
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 . On average, there are 192 days above 30C (86F) annually.

CLIMATE DATA FOR DEAD SEA, SEDOM (390 M BELOW SEA LEVEL)

MONTH JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC YEAR

RECORD HIGH °C (°F) 26.4 (79.5) 30.4 (86.7) 33.8 (92.8) 42.5 (108.5) 45.0 (113) 46.4 (115.5) 47.0 (116.6) 44.5 (112.1) 43.6 (110.5) 40.0 (104) 35.0 (95) 28.5 (83.3) 47.0 (116.6)

AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F) 20.5 (68.9) 21.7 (71.1) 24.8 (76.6) 29.9 (85.8) 34.1 (93.4) 37.6 (99.7) 39.7 (103.5) 39.0 (102.2) 36.5 (97.7) 32.4 (90.3) 26.9 (80.4) 21.7 (71.1) 30.4 (86.7)

DAILY MEAN °C (°F) 16.6 (61.9) 17.7 (63.9) 20.8 (69.4) 25.4 (77.7) 29.4 (84.9) 32.6 (90.7) 34.7 (94.5) 34.5 (94.1) 32.4 (90.3) 28.6 (83.5) 23.1 (73.6) 17.9 (64.2) 26.1 (79)

AVERAGE LOW °C (°F) 12.7 (54.9) 13.7 (56.7) 16.7 (62.1) 20.9 (69.6) 24.7 (76.5) 27.6 (81.7) 29.6 (85.3) 29.9 (85.8) 28.3 (82.9) 24.7 (76.5) 19.3 (66.7) 14.1 (57.4) 21.9 (71.4)

RECORD LOW °C (°F) 5.4 (41.7) 6.0 (42.8) 8.0 (46.4) 11.5 (52.7) 19.0 (66.2) 23.0 (73.4) 26.0 (78.8) 26.8 (80.2) 24.2 (75.6) 17.0 (62.6) 9.8 (49.6) 6.0 (42.8) 5.4 (41.7)

AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES) 7.8 (0.307) 9.0 (0.354) 7.6 (0.299) 4.3 (0.169) 0.2 (0.008) 0.0 (0) 0.0 (0) 0.0 (0) 0.0 (0) 1.2 (0.047) 3.5 (0.138) 8.3 (0.327) 41.9 (1.65)

AVERAGE PRECIPITATION DAYS 3.3 3.5 2.5 1.3 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 1.6 2.8 15.6

AVERAGE RELATIVE HUMIDITY (%) 41 38 33 27 24 23 24 27 31 33 36 41 31.5

Source: Israel
Israel
Meteorological Service

CHEMISTRY

Halite
Halite
deposits (and teepee structure) along the western Dead Sea
Sea
coast. Beach pebbles made of halite ; western Dead Sea coast.

With 34.2% salinity (in 2011), it is one of the world\'s saltiest bodies of water , though Lake Vanda in Antarctica
Antarctica
(35%), Lake Assal in Djibouti
Djibouti
(34.8%), Lagoon Garabogazköl in the Caspian Sea (up to 35%) and some hypersaline ponds and lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica
Antarctica
(such as Don Juan Pond (44%)) have reported higher salinities.

Until the winter of 1978–79, when a major mixing event took place, the Dead Sea
Sea
was composed of two stratified layers of water that differed in temperature, density, age, and salinity. The topmost 35 meters (115 ft) or so of the Dead Sea
Sea
had an average salinity of 342 parts per thousand (in 2002), and a temperature that swung between 19 °C (66 °F) and 37 °C (99 °F). Underneath a zone of transition, the lowest level of the Dead Sea
Sea
had waters of a consistent 22 °C (72 °F) temperature and complete saturation of sodium chloride (NaCl). Since the water near the bottom is saturated , the salt precipitates out of solution onto the sea floor .

Beginning in the 1960s, water inflow to the Dead Sea
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 has begun to redevelop.

The mineral content of the Dead Sea
Sea
is very different from that of ocean water. The exact composition of the Dead Sea
Sea
water varies mainly with season, depth and temperature. In the early 1980s, the concentration of ionic species (in g/kg) of Dead Sea
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 (CaCl2) 14.4%, potassium chloride (KCl) 4.4%, magnesium chloride (MgCl2) 50.8% and sodium chloride (NaCl) 30.4%. In comparison, the salt in the water of most oceans and seas is approximately 85% sodium chloride . The concentration of sulfate ions (SO42−) is very low, and the concentration of bromide ions (Br−) is the highest of all waters on Earth.

The salt concentration of the Dead Sea
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
Sea
because of natural buoyancy . In this respect the Dead Sea
Sea
is similar to the Great Salt
Salt
Lake in Utah in the United States.

An unusual feature of the Dead Sea
Sea
is its discharge of asphalt . From deep seeps , the Dead Sea
Sea
constantly spits up small pebbles and blocks of the black substance. Asphalt-coated figurines and bitumen-coated Neolithic
Neolithic
skulls from archaeological sites have been found. Egyptian mummification processes used asphalt imported from the Dead Sea region.

PUTATIVE THERAPIES

_ This article NEEDS MORE MEDICAL REFERENCES FOR VERIFICATION OR RELIES TOO HEAVILY ON PRIMARY SOURCES. Please review the contents of the article and add the appropriate references if you can. Unsourced or poorly sourced material may be challenged and removed . (March 2015)_

The Dead Sea
Sea
area has become a location for health research and potential treatment for several reasons. The mineral content of the water, the low content of pollens and other allergens in the atmosphere , the reduced ultraviolet component of solar radiation , and the higher atmospheric pressure at this great depth each may have specific health effects . For example, persons experiencing reduced respiratory function from diseases such as cystic fibrosis 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 : Treatment which exploits local climatic features such as temperature , humidity , sunshine , barometric pressure and special atmospheric constituents * Heliotherapy : Treatment that exploits the biological effects of the sun 's radiation * Thalassotherapy : Treatment that exploits bathing in Dead Sea water

PSORIASIS

Climatotherapy at the Dead Sea
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 cloud cover over the Dead Sea.

RHINOSINUSITIS

Rhinosinusitis patients receiving Dead Sea
Sea
saline nasal irrigation exhibited improved symptom relief compared to standard hypertonic saline spray in one study.

OSTEOARTHRITIS

Dead Sea
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
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
, treatment with mineral-rich mud compresses can be used to augment conventional medical therapy. Panorama of the Dead Sea
Sea
from the Mövenpick Resort, Jordan.

FAUNA AND FLORA

Dead Sea
Sea
in the morning, seen from Masada
Masada

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
Sea
can drop from its usual 35% to 30% or lower. The Dead Sea
Sea
temporarily comes to life in the wake of rainy winters. In 1980, after one such rainy winter, the normally dark blue Dead Sea
Sea
turned red. Researchers from Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
found the Dead Sea
Sea
to be teeming with a type of alga called _ Dunaliella _. _Dunaliella_ in turn nourished carotenoid -containing (red-pigmented ) halobacteria , whose presence caused the color change. Since 1980, the Dead Sea
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
Israel
and Germany discovered fissures in the floor of the Dead Sea
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 leopards . Hundreds of bird species inhabit the zone as well. Both Jordan
Jordan
and Israel
Israel
have established nature reserves around the Dead Sea.

The delta of the Jordan
Jordan
River was formerly a jungle of papyrus and palm trees . The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus
Josephus
described Jericho as "the most fertile spot in Judea
Judea
". In Roman and Byzantine times, sugarcane , henna , and sycamore fig all made the lower Jordan
Jordan
valley wealthy. One of the most valuable products produced by Jericho
Jericho
was the sap of the 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
, 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
Sea
hotels are located on the southwest end at Ein Bokek
Ein Bokek
near Neve Zohar. Highway 90 runs north-south on the Israeli side for a total distance of 565 km (351 mi) from Metula on the Lebanese border in the north to its southern terminus at the Egyptian border near the Red Sea
Sea
port of Eilat
Eilat
.

Potash
Potash
City is a small community on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, and others including Suweima. 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
Aqaba
.

HUMAN HISTORY

Mount Sodom , Israel, showing the so-called "Lot\'s Wife " pillar (made of halite like the rest of the mountain)

BIBLICAL PERIOD

Dwelling in caves near the Dead Sea
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
Sea
is Jericho
Jericho
. Somewhere, perhaps on the southeastern shore, would be the cities mentioned in the Book
Book
of Genesis which were said to have been destroyed in the time of Abraham : Sodom and Gomorra (Genesis 18) and the three other "Cities of the Plain", Admah , Zeboim and Zoar (Deuteronomy 29:23). Zoar escaped destruction when Abraham's nephew Lot escaped to Zoar from Sodom (Genesis 19:21-22). Before the destruction, the Dead Sea
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
Saul
at Ein Gedi
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 life . A similar prophecy is stated in Zechariah 14:8, which says that "living waters will go out from Jerusalem
Jerusalem
, half of them to the eastern sea and half to the western sea ."

GREEK AND ROMAN PERIOD

Aristotle
Aristotle
wrote about the remarkable waters. The Nabateans and others discovered the value of the globs of natural 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 mummies . The Ancient Romans knew the Dead Sea
Sea
as "_Palus Asphaltites_" ( Asphalt Lake).

King Herod the Great
Herod the Great
built or rebuilt several fortresses and palaces on the western bank of the Dead Sea. The most famous was Masada
Masada
, where in 70 CE a small group of Jewish zealots fled after the fall of the destruction of the Second Temple . The zealots survived until 73 CE, when a siege by the 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
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 ... the town of Engeda" (_Natural History_, Bk 5.73); and it is therefore a hugely popular but contested hypothesis today, that same Essenes
Essenes
are identical with the settlers at Qumran
Qumran
and that "the Dead Sea
Sea
Scrolls " discovered during the 20th century in the nearby caves had been their own library.

Josephus
Josephus
identified the Dead Sea
Sea
in geographic proximity to the ancient Biblical city of 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
Essenes
of Qumran
Qumran
, who left an extensive library known as the Dead Sea
Sea
Scrolls . The town of Ein Gedi
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
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
Sea
was a place of escape and refuge. The remoteness of the region attracted Greek Orthodox monks since the Byzantine era. Their monasteries , such as Saint George
Saint George
in Wadi
Wadi
Kelt and Mar Saba in the Judaean Desert , are places of pilgrimage .

MODERN TIMES

In the 19th century the River Jordan
Jordan
and the Dead Sea
Sea
were explored by boat primarily by Christopher Costigan in 1835, Thomas Howard Molyneux in 1847, William Francis Lynch in 1848, and John MacGregor in 1869. The full text of W. F. Lynch's 1949 book _Narrative of the United States\' Expedition to the River Jordan
Jordan
and the Dead Sea_ is available online. Charles Leonard Irby and James Mangles travelled along the shores of the Dead Sea
Sea
already in 1817-18, but didn't navigate on its waters. World's lowest (dry) point, Jordan
Jordan
, 1971

Explorers and scientists arrived in the area to analyze the minerals and research the unique climate.

After the find of the "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
Qumran
, about one mile (1.6 kilometres) inland from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea
Sea
(presently in the West Bank). They became known and famous as the Dead Sea
Sea
Scrolls .

The world's lowest roads, Highway 90 , run along the Israeli and West Bank shores of the Dead Sea, along with Highway 65 on the Jordanian side, at 393 m (1,289 ft) below sea level.

TOURISM AND LEISURE

Ein Bokek
Ein Bokek
, a resort on the Israeli shore

BRITISH MANDATE PERIOD

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

ISRAEL

The first major Israeli hotels were built in nearby Arad , and since the 1960s at the Ein Bokek
Ein Bokek
resort complex.

Israel
Israel
has 15 hotels along the Dead Sea
Sea
shore, generating total revenues of $291 million in 2012. Most Israeli hotels and resorts on the Dead Sea
Sea
are on a six-kilometre (3.7-mile) stretch of the southern shore.

JORDAN

Kempinski Hotel, one of the many hotels on the Jordanian shore

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
Sea
panorama road was included along with 40 archaeological locations in Jordan, to become live on Google Street View .

WEST BANK

The Palestinian Dead Sea
Sea
Coast is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) long. The World Bank estimates that a Palestinian Dead Sea
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

The southern basin of the Dead Sea
Sea
as of 1817-18, with the Lisan Peninsula and its ford (now named Lynch Strait). North is to the right. View of salt evaporation pans on the Dead Sea, taken in 1989 from the Space Shuttle Columbia ( STS-28 ). The southern half is separated from the northern half at what used to be the Lisan Peninsula because of the fall in level of the Dead Sea. View of the mineral evaporation ponds almost 12 years later ( STS-102 ). A northern and small southeastern extension were added and the large polygonal ponds subdivided. The dwindling water level of the Dead Sea
Sea

BRITISH MANDATE PERIOD

In the early part of the 20th century, the Dead Sea
Sea
began to attract interest from chemists who deduced the sea was a natural deposit of potash (potassium chloride) and bromine . The Palestine Potash
Potash
Company was chartered in 1929, after its founder, Siberian Jewish engineer and pioneer of Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
exploitation, Moses Novomeysky , worked for the charter for over ten years. The first plant was on the north shore of the Dead Sea
Sea
at Kalya 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 area, south of the \'Lashon\' region of the Dead Sea. Palestine Potash
Potash
Company supplied half of Britain's potash during World War II
World War II
. Both plants were destroyed by the Jordanians in the 1948 Arab–Israeli War .

ISRAEL

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

JORDAN

On the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea, Arab Potash
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
Sea
mineral industries generate about $1.2 billion in sales (equivalent to 4 percent of Jordan’s GDP).

WEST BANK

The Palestinian Dead Sea
Sea
Coast is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) 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
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
Sea
Works Ltd. and Arab Potash, use extensive salt evaporation pans that have essentially diked the entire southern end of the Dead Sea
Sea
for the purpose of producing carnallite , potassium magnesium chloride, which is then processed further to produce potassium chloride. The ponds are separated by a central dike that runs roughly north-south along the international border. The power plant on the Israeli side allows production of magnesium metal (by a subsidiary, Dead Sea
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
Sea
salts as raw materials for body and skin care products.

RECESSION AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

The planned Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance , whose first phase will begin construction in 2018, will work towards stabilizing the falling levels of the Dead Sea.

Since 1930, when its surface was 1,050 km2 (410 sq mi) and its level was 390 m (1,280 ft) below sea level, the Dead Sea
Sea
has been monitored continuously. In recent decades, the Dead Sea
Sea
has been rapidly shrinking because of diversion of incoming water from the Jordan
Jordan
River to the north. The southern end is fed by a canal maintained by the Dead Sea
Sea
Works, a company that converts the sea's raw materials. From a water surface of 395 m (1,296 ft) below sea level in 1970 it fell 22 m (72 ft) to 418 m (1,371 ft) below sea level in 2006, reaching a drop rate of 1 m (3 ft) per year. As the water level decreases, the characteristics of the Sea
Sea
and surrounding region may substantially change.

The Dead Sea level
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. Gully in unconsolidated Dead Sea
Sea
sediments exposed by recession of water levels. It was excavated by floods from the Judean Mountains in less than a year.

In May 2009 at the World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum
, Jordan
Jordan
announced its plans to construct the " Jordan
Jordan
National Red Sea
Sea
Development Project" (JRSP). This is a plan to convey seawater from the Red Sea
Sea
near Aqaba
Aqaba
to the Dead Sea. Water
Water
would be desalinated along the route to provide fresh water to Jordan, with the brine discharge sent to the Dead Sea
Sea
for replenishment. The early planning called for developer and financier selection to be completed by year's end, with detailed design to begin in early 2010, and water delivery by 2017. Israel
Israel
expressed its support and will likely benefit from some of the water delivery to its Negev region. Some hydro-power will be collected near the Dead Sea from the dramatic change in elevation on the downhill side of the project.

At a regional conference in July 2009, officials expressed concern about the declining water levels. Some suggested industrial activities around the Dead Sea
Sea
might need to be reduced. Others advised environmental measures to restore conditions such as increasing the volume of flow from the Jordan
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.

YEAR WATER LEVEL (M) SURFACE (KM2)

1930 −390 1050

1980 −400 680

1992 −407 675

1997 −411 670

2004 −417 662

2010 −423 655

2016 −430.5 605

Sources: Israel
Israel
Oceanographic and Limnological Research, _ Haaretz
Haaretz
_, Jewish Virtual Library
Jewish Virtual Library
, Jordan
Jordan
Valley Authority .

In October 2009, the Jordanians announced accelerated plans to extract around 300 million cubic metres (11 billion cubic feet) of water per year from the Red Sea, desalinate it for use as fresh water and send the waste water to the Dead Sea
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
Sea
Water
Water
Conveyance .

In December 2013, Israel, Jordan
Jordan
and the Palestinian Authority signed an agreement for laying a water pipeline to link the Red Sea
Sea
with the Dead Sea. The pipeline will be 180 km (110 mi) long and is estimated to take up to five years to complete. In January 2015 it was reported that the level of water is now dropping by 1 m (3 ft) a year.

On 27 November 2016, it was announced that the Jordanian government is shortlisting five consortiums to implement the project. Jordan's ministry of Water
Water
and Irrigation said that the $100 million first phase of the project will begin construction in the first quarter of 2018, and will be completed by 2021. Views in 1972, 1989, and 2011 compared

SEE ALSO

* Red Sea–Dead Sea Water Conveyance * Aral Sea
Sea
* Dead Sea
Sea
Works * Great Salt
Salt
Lake * List of drying lakes
List of drying lakes
* List of places on land with elevations below sea level * Mediterranean–Dead Sea
Sea
Canal * Benjamin Elazari Volcani * _World Discoveries III: Dead Sea
Sea
_

REFERENCES

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Sea
Data Summary 2015._ Water
Water
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Sea
- Dead Sea
Sea
Water
Water
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Israel
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Israel
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Jordan
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repeats the Mishna, portraying a curse on whoever reveals the town's secret persimmon recipe. Papyrus parchments found in caves near the Dead Sea document the vast amount of cultivated land in the area, especially persimmon trees, but also olive and date trees * ^ "History of the Dead Sea
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FURTHER READING

* The World Bank - \'The Red Sea
Sea
- Dead Sea
Sea
Water
Water
Conveyance Study Program\' - 2013, 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, ISBN 0-8137-2401-5 * Niemi, Tina M., Ben-Avraham, Z., and Gat, J., eds., 1997, The Dead Sea: The Lake and Its Setting: N.Y., Oxford University Press
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

* Media related to Dead Sea
Sea
at Wikimedia Commons * Dead Sea
Sea
travel guide from Wikivoyage (Israeli and West Bank
West Bank
part and Jordanian part) * The dictionary definition of Dead Sea
Sea
at Wiktionary

* v * t * e

.