Thursday, July 15, 2010
The Dead Sea
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For the Brian Keene book of the same name, see Dead Sea (novel).
A view from the Israeli side looking across to Jordan
Coordinates 31°20?N 35°30?E? / ?31.333°N 35.5°E? / 31.333; 35.5Coordinates: 31°20?N 35°30?E? / ?31.333°N 35.5°E? / 31.333; 35.5
Lake type endorheic
Primary inflows Jordan River
Primary outflows none
Catchment area 41,650 km2 (16,080 sq mi)
Basin countries Jordan
Max. length 67 km (42 mi)
Max. width 18 km (11 mi)
Surface area 810 km2 (310 sq mi)
Average depth 118 m (387 ft)
Max. depth 378 m (1,240 ft)
Water volume 147 km3 (35 cu mi)
Shore length1 135 km (84 mi)
Surface elevation -422 m (-1,385 ft)
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.
The Dead Sea (Arabic: ??????? ????????, al-Bah.r El-Mayyit, Hebrew: ??? ??????????????, Ya-m Ha-Melah.; "Dead Sea" , "Sea of Salt"), also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east, and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are 422 metres (1,385 ft) below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface on dry land. The Dead Sea is 378 m (1,240 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, with 33.7% salinity. Only Lake Assal (Djibouti), Garabogazköl and some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond) have a higher salinity. It is 8.6 times more salty than the ocean. This salinity makes for a harsh environment where animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.
The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Biblically, it was a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets.
The sea has a density of 1.24kg/L, making swimming difficult.