There are many people who are fascinated with the Dead Sea. Not only is it the lowest point on earth, but anyone, regardless of their weight, will float on the waters. These two facts, together with the therapeutic and healing elements of the salt water and mud, contributes to people visiting the Jordanian and Israeli seashores of the magnificent Dead Sea.
The primary inflows of the basin that stretches over six countries, being IIsrael, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt, is the Jordan River. This Endorheic lake form makes up an area of forty one thousand six hundred and fifty square meters. Its maximum length is fifty kilometers and the maximum width is fifteen kilometers. The average depth of the Dead Sea is two hundred meters with the deepest area recorded as three hundred and six meters. The shore line is one hundred and thirty five kilometers long.
In Biblical times, this Salt Sea has been a place of refuge for King David and even during those ancient times it was considered a healing place. Science has proven that the products taken from the sea was used in balms during the Egyptian Mummification processes and they Pharaoh followers also made use of the products to fertilize the grounds in which crops were planted. The Dead Sea isn’t mentioned much in the Bible. Its geographic role was to become a barrier blocking traffic to Judea from the east. One significant mention of it was when Ezekiel prophesized that it would one day be fresh water and that fishermen will spread their nets along the shores of the Salt Sea.
But where did this Salt Lake come from and why isn’t there more of it in the world? The oldest hypothesis states that it lies in a true rift zone, between the Red Sea Rift in North Africa and the Great Rift Valley in Eastern Africa. The more recent hypothesis states that it was a result of discontinuity along the Dead Sea transform, which created an extension of salty crust that was formed over three million years ago as a result of waters flowing from the Mediterranean Sea, creating a lagoon that was connected to the sea. With the floods coming and going, the lake deposited beds of salt and today we know it as the Dead Sea.
As mentioned in the introduction, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. It is one thousand three hundred feet below sea level, equal to four hundred meters, which means the water cannot drain from the lake. Each day seven million tons of water evaporates, but the minerals remain and this increases the salt content. That means the salinity of this water mass is between twenty six and thirty five percent. That makes It up to ten times saltier than the oceans of the world.
The area of the Dead Sea is sparsely populated and quite serene. In Biblical times, the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, Adman, Bela and Zebouin were here. When driving from Aqaba, you pass along the seashore with evident salt masses formed along the rocks. Once you reach the resorts, it looks very similar to a beach and a calm ocean. However, the warm, soothing waters is not an ocean and it is not made for splashing. In fact, getting water in your eye will be a painful experience due to all the salt, sodium and potassium.
Between the sand and the water is a long strip of mud. This mud is very thick and warm. When kneading it, spreading it to your skin and letting it dry, you are taking part in a self applied beauty treatment that will purify the skin. As the mud dries on the skin, it radiates heat which creates a sensation that it really does have healing powers. It has been proven to heal and rejuvenate, but if it isn’t your cup of tea to be covered in the mud, there are various shops selling Dead Sea products.
Is it a myth that you can float on the Dead Sea? The answer is no. You do float due to the density of the water caused by the salt. You really can lie back and read a magazine while floating on the water. Why is it called the Dead Sea? It is because the water is too salty for anything to live in it, hence it is a sea dead from any living water creatures.
The climate in this particular reason promises year round sunny skies and dry air. In the winter months the temperatures range between twenty to twenty three degrees Celsius and in summer you can expect temperatures between thirty two and forty degrees Celsius. The Dead Sea itself affects the temperatures of the nearby areas in the sense that it is a large body of water.
What do we make of Elijah’s prophesy? It appears that the Dead Sea is in fact under threat. BBC News reported that in the year 2050, this mass of water will have disappeared due to the decreasing levels of water brought in via the Jordan River. Human intervention is to blame due to the pipelines and reservoirs that divert water into the residential areas. Seeing as the area around the Dead Sea is home to a unique ecosystem of plants, birds and wildlife, if the sea goes, they go too.
In conclusion to the amazing facts on the Dead Sea, it is important to mention one discovery that goes hand in hand with it. The Dead Sea Scrolls, unearthed between nineteen forty seven and nineteen fifty six, in a cave not far from Jericho is regarded as one of the most priceless archaeological findings of human kind. Although currently under the guard of the Israeli Antiquities Authority to protect them from deterioration, many replicas can be found in museums around the world. These Dead Sea Scrolls make up hundreds of Hebrew Manuscripts detailing events in the Holy Land between the periods of 3 B.C and 2 A.D, including the birth of Christianity.
Both Jordan and Israel offer great holiday opportunities at the Dead Sea and it is definitely a place to add to your bucket list.