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Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is a natural wonder which is situated in the center of the great Syrian-African rift valley fault between Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan. The Dead Sea is actually a big inland lake 76 KM long, up to 18 KM wide and it is 400 meters deep at the deepest point. It is the lowest point on dry land in the world (417 under sea level).

Another record held by the Dead Sea is having the highest salt concentration of any of the world's seas, salt lakes or any stretch of water. The salt concentration in the Dead Sea is ten times higher than other seas (for example: the salt concentration in the Dead Sea is 34%, while the concentration in the Mediterranean sea is only 3.5%). This high salt concentration makes floating in its waters effortless.

The high salinity of the waters in the Dead Sea prevents the existence of life in the water, hence its name. The name "Dead Sea" for the Hebrew "Yam Hamelach" (Salt Sea) was attributed by Christian Monks, astonished by the apparent absence of any form of life in the sea water. Recent scientific research however, discovered 11 types of bacteria in the water.

The Dead Sea is drying quickly. 2,000-3,000 years ago, the level of the Dead Sea was 360 meters below sea level. However, diversion of sweet water from the Jordan river since 1950, by both Jordan and Israel, has reduced to less than the half the flow of water from the Jordan river into the Dead Sea. Today, water evaporation is faster than the water supply and the sea is gradually shrinking. Over the last 30 years, water levels have dropped 25 meters.

This fall of the Dead Sea level has caused another strange and problematic phenomenon in the area. At points where rivers flow into the Dead Sea, (such as Nahal David and Nahal Arugot in the Ein Gedi area), the water is absorbed by the sandy ground and streams underground into the Sea. Because of the fall in the Dead Sea level, the underground rivers flow faster, and carry clay sediments: thus large underground caves have been formed, which sometimes collapse unexpectedly, and people have fallen down holes a few meters deep. This phenomenon causes great damages to tourism and local industries.

Dead Sea Health
Benefits Minerals found in the Dead Sea are known around the world for their healing qualities, and are distributed around the world under the name Ahava Cosmetics. Many come to the dead sea to bathe in mineral rich mud, which is considered to have many medicinal benefits. Its natural properties make it a prime centre for spa treatments and relaxation therapies, and there are a number of resorts in the area.

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