Changes in the Dead Sea


Ahhh the Dead Sea.  We all know it, love it or hate it.  It’s one of the world’s wonders, and probably a stop for every person who is visiting Israel.  But, what do we really know about it?  Only that it is salty and the lowest point on Earth?  Here are some facts about the Dead Sea and some changes that have happened to it over the years.

The Dead Sea is not a Sea at all.  It is actually a Salt Lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel to the west. The Dead Sea is the fourth most salty water body on Earth (the first one being Don Juan Pond in Victoria Land in Antarctica) with a salt concentration of 34.2%, which is ten times saltier than the Mediterranean Sea.

 

The water level in the Dead Sea have been decreasing starting in the middle of the 20th century, mostly due to the wide use of the water from the water sources that are draining into the Dead Sea, the main one being the Jordan River, and the draining of water from the lake to the steaming pools in the south part of it.

 

Receding shore lines

The Dead Sea has 2 parts.  The northern one, which has an average depth of 656 feet, is the part of the Dead Sea where you probably visited and floated around in. The second part is the southern  part, which has an average depth of 32 feet, therefore it has dried quickly and now it is being used for the production of potash (a variety of mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form). Draining water to the southern pools is the main reason that the northern part is drying.

Southern pools

Southern pools

The decreasing levels of the Dead Sea have created a decrease in the size of the lake by 35%. The change in water levels and size have created irreversible changes to the northern part of the lake. It has created sinkholes all around the Dead Sea, receding shores, damage to infrastructure and the natural reserve around it.

The_Dead_Sea_1972-2011_-_NASA_Earth_Observatory

Now that you know a little more about the Dead Sea, you know that you have to go see it! When you are there enjoy floating in this world wonder, enjoy the Dead Sea mud on your skin and most importantly – clean up after yourself so that other people can enjoy it as well.

Until next time

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