Few bodies of water hold as much significant historic, geographic, and religious importance as the Dead Sea. Ancient Egyptians and Jewish and Islamic traditions alone have put the Dead Sea on the map. It also stands as a unique location for health and spa treatments, and tourists love to go there for a nice day at the beach. Here are 25 Truly Fascinating Facts About The Dead Sea.
It's called "dead" because of its high salinity.
High saline levels make it impossible for plants, fish, and other larger organisms to live in the Dead Sea, hence the word “dead.” However, smaller organisms like bacteria have been found in craters at the bottom of the lake.
It's not really a sea.
It may be called the Dead Sea, but it’s technically an endorheic salt lake with the Jordan river flowing into it. It retains all the water and does not flow into any other lakes, seas, or oceans.
It's 9.6 times as salty as the ocean.
Speaking of the high salinity, it has so much concentrated salt that the entire ocean’s salt is like a drop in the bucket compared to it. Even though freshwater from the Jordan river runs into it, that water has nowhere to go and is forced to evaporate, creating a cycle of highly salinated water.
Rocks dissolved by rainwater make it so salty.
So, why is the Dead Sea so salty? The short answer is rainwater. All rainwater has certain acids when carbon monoxide combines with water. Over time this rain breaks down the rocks, turning them into ions such as sodium and chloride, also known as salt.
It's the lowest elevation on land.
At 420 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest elevation on land.
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Photos: 23. Israeltourism via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, 22. Adiel lo, Dead sea shore, CC BY-SA 3.0, 20. Ian and Wendy Sewell, Dead Sea-18, CC BY-SA 3.0, 19. babeltravel, Dead Sea 21, CC BY 2.0, 18. Christian Haugen via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 16. David Shankbone, Dead Sea by David Shankbone, CC BY-SA 3.0, 14. Lldenke, McKittrick Tar Seep North of Highway 58, CC BY 3.0, 13. Disdero, SaltPillarDeadSea, CC BY-SA 2.5, 11. Use or reproduction of this image outside of Wikipedia must give the original photographer (Andrew Shiva) credit. Although not required, it would be appreciated if a message was left here indicating where this image was being used., Aerial view of Masada (Israel) 02, CC BY-SA 4.0, 9. Tiia Monto, Dead Sea salt, CC BY-SA 3.0, 7. israeltourism via flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 6. momo via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 2. Ian and Wendy Sewell, Dead Sea-14, CC BY-SA 3.0, 1. NASA’s Earth Observatory, The Dead Sea 1972-2011 – NASA Earth Observatory, CC BY 2.0