The Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth, is both magical and mysterious. Also known as the Salt Sea or Sea of the Arabah, the Dead Sea is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Palestine and Israel to the west. It is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world (304 meters or 997 feet deep).
Here are five amazing dead sea facts that will surprise, interest, and blow your mind.
The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1
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Fascinating Dead Sea Facts for Kids
Saltiest Body of Water (Dead Sea Facts)
The salinity of the Dead Sea is 34.2 percent (compared with the Mediterranean Sea’s 3.5 percent). It ranks behind Don Juan Pond in Antarctica, Lagoon Garabogazköl in the Caspian Sea, and Lake Assal in Djibouti as the fourth saltiest body of water in the world.
The main reason for the high salinity is because the water flows into the Dead Sea from the River Jordan and it has no way to get out of the lake and the soaring hot and dry conditions prevalent in the region (arid desert climate) mean that large quantities of water are evaporated. So the salt and other minerals become more and more concentrated. The Dead Sea is estimated to contain about 37 billion tonnes of salt.
Biggest Free Spa on Earth (Dead Sea Facts)
The mineral content of the Dead Sea, the reduced ultraviolet component of solar radiation, the very low content of pollens and other allergens in the atmosphere, and the higher atmospheric pressure at this considerable depth each have specific health effects. Due to this, the Dead Sea area has become a major health research and treatment center.
The deposits of black mud which is known for its therapeutic effects come directly from the seabed and it is high in magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium. It is used for treating skin problems such as acne, psoriasis, hives, and cellulite, as well as muscle ache, inflammation, and arthritis.
Herod the Great, the Roman client king of Judea, who reigned between 37 to 4 BC, built one of the world’s first health spas along the Dead Sea shores. It is believed that Cleopatra, the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt, knew of the healing and rejuvenating powers of the waters and mud from the Dead Sea and used it as part of her beauty regime. Minerals and salts from the Dead Sea are currently used for making herbal sachets and cosmetics.
Lowest Point on Earth (Dead Sea Facts)
The Dead Sea surface and shores are 420 meters (1,378 feet) below sea level, making it Earth’s lowest elevation on land. Comparatively, the lowest point in North America, Death Valley, is 86 meters (282 feet) below sea level. The deepest part of the Dead Sea lake bed is about 701 meters (2,300 feet) below sea level. The Dead Sea measures about 50 miles long and 11 miles at its widest point. It lies between the Judaean Hills to the west and the Transjordanian highlands to the east.
Why is it Dead Sea? (Dead Sea Facts)
The salinity of the Dead Sea (approximately 8.6 times saltier than the ocean) makes for a harsh environment in which living creatures cannot survive (hence its name). There is no seaweed, fish, or any other creatures found in or near the Dead Sea’s turquoise waters. In the year 2010, some marine microbiologists found a new species of bacteria, Haloferax volcanii, living in the craters at the bottom of the Dead Sea. Minuscule quantities of microbial fungi are also present.
Floating Asphalt Blocks (Dead Sea Facts)
A strange feature of the Dead Sea is its discharge of asphalt. The Dead Sea continuously spews small pebbles and blocks of the black substance from deep seeps to its surface. Asphalt coated figurines and bitumen coated Neolithic skulls from archaeological sites have been found. Ancient Egyptians used to import asphalt to use in their mummification processes.
Dead Sea Scrolls (Dead Sea Facts)
Ancient manuscripts were discovered between 1947 and 1956 near the Dead Sea. Considered to be one of the most important discoveries in modern archaeology, the Dead Sea Scrolls (dated from around 250 BC to 68 AD) were found in 11 caves near the ruins of Qumran in the Judaean Desert on the northern shore of the Dead Sea. They contain some of the oldest known copies of the Hebrew Bible (fragments from every book of the Old Testament except for the Book of Esther).
The dead sea scrolls include documents about sectarian regulations, such as the Community Rule, along with biblical texts. The Shrine of the Book, an urn-shaped building on the grounds of the Israel Museum, currently houses the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Natural Buoyancy (Dead Sea Facts)
The Dead Sea is more saline than seawater, with salt deposits making up 34% of the lake’s component. The water density is much higher than the usual density of lakes or freshwater bodies. The mass density of the human body is less when compared to the highly salinized water, so the human body feels lighter and starts to float making it hard to even stand on two feet in the dead sea. The buoyancy is due to the high concentration of dissolved mineral salts in the lake, and whoever enters the water immediately floats.
One should keep in mind that it is still possible to drown in the dead sea as swimmers can get caught in strong winds, flip over, and swallow the salty water.
Bonus Fact (Dead Sea Facts)
Due to its location below sea level, the UV rays of the sun are weaker around the Dead Sea, making it harder to get suntanned or sunburnt. Harmful UV rays are filtered through three natural layers that include an extra atmospheric layer, an evaporation layer above the Dead Sea, and a thick ozone layer.
Saving the Dead Sea (Dead Sea Facts)
Being one of Israel’s most popular tourist destinations, the Dead Sea is disappearing at an alarming rate. Back in the 1930s, the lake’s surface area was 405 mi² (1,050 km²). Currently, it is just 234 mi² (605 km²), and its surface level is dropping by more than one meter every year. The reason for this is water being diverted from the River Jordan and extracted from the Dead Sea for developments nearby. In the year 2015, Israel and Jordan signed an agreement to invest $9 million to stabilize the lake’s water level. Let us hope that this amazing wonder is preserved by the conservation efforts undertaken by the governments of Jordan and Israel.
We hope these hand-picked dead sea facts have not only entertained you but also inspired the explorer in you.