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What is the Dead Sea

417 meters (1.373 ft) below sea level, filled with mineral-rich waters and mud.

  • Nothing lives in it.
  • Some of the saltiest water anywhere in the world , almost six times as salty as the ocean
  • Completely landlocked and it gets saltier with increasing depth.
  • The surface is the least saline.
  • At about 130 feet (40 meters), the seawater comprises about 300 grams of salt per kilogram of seawater.
  • Below 300 feet, the sea has 332 grams of salt per kilogram of seawater and is saturated.
  • Salt precipitates out and piles up on the bottom of the sea.

 

Why is the Dead Sea so salty?

  • There are several rivers and streams that feed into the Dead Sea, but none that drain out. Evaporation is the only way water is released from the sea.
  • With the hot temperatures, the water evaporates fairly quickly. As this occurs, it leaves behind any dissolved minerals in the sea, increasing its saltiness.

 

What caused the Dead Sea to form?

A rift formed where two crystal plates are spreading apart.

  • The East Rift Valley runs through most of Africa, but it starts north of the Dead Sea and runs south along the eastern part of the continent.
  • The sea is located right along the Rift Valley, where the earth’s crust is being stretched thin, causing the surface to skin downward.
  • Even today, as the Dead Sea continues to skin, scientists calculate that Dead Sea lowers by as much as 13 inches per year.
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