A short account of the Dead Sea, given by your Israel & Jerusalem private tour guide
What an amazing experience – floating in the water of one of the saltiest lakes on earth, located at the lowest point on earth! The Dead Sea is an experience like no other.
Why so low?
The altitude of the lake is 428 m. (1403 ft.) below sea level, and it continues to become lower at a steady rate. The reason that the Dead Sea is so low is because it is located in the Syrian-African Rift that was created some 25 million years ago. This area sank quite deeply, and even though it was filled with sediment, it is still at an extremely low elevation. The water level gets lower every year because the lake’s main source, the Jordan River, is being diverted for agricultural and domestic use. One of the dangers resulting from the eroding shoreline of the Dead Sea is the creation of deep sinkholes along the beaches.
The differences in altitude between the high Judean mountains and the low Dead Sea causes flash floods, which rush down canyons in the Judean Desert a few times every winter.
Why so salty?
Twenty-thousand years ago, the Dead Sea was still a freshwater lake, much longer in length and higher in elevation than today. When a level of solid salt that was buried under the bed of the lake started rising up on the side of the lake, it created a salt mountain named Mount Sodom. The lake dissolved much of the salt of Mount Sodom, and the Dead Sea became very salty.