06 – Dead Sea

At 1,371 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is Earth’s lowest land not covered by ice. (Technically, the Bentley Subglacial Trench in Antartica is the lowest point on the earth. It’s 8,383 feet below sea level and about the size of Mexico. But if all the ice covering it melted so you could see it, it’d be under the ocean, so I guess technically it doesn’t count as being the lowest point on land. The absolute lowest point is, of course, the Mariana Trench at 35,798 below sea level. More we could say.)

The dead sea is HUGE! At least, a lot larger than I thought it would be. It’s 42 miles long and 11 miles wide. In some places, it’s slightly over 1,000 feet deep. The Jordan River is the main  inlet of water into the Dead Sea, and there is no means for water to exit other than by evaporation. This, in conjunction with the large natural salt and mineral deposits of the nearby hills, makes it one of the saltiest bodies of water on the earth – second only to Lake Asal in Djibouti. The salinity of the Dead Sea is about 30% – over 8x as much as you would find in the earth’s oceans. Under these conditions, there is no life in the Dead Sea – hence its name.

Because salt water is denser than fresh water, human bodies are noticeably more buoyant than what we experience when swimming in the ocean or in a swimming pool. The experience is quite comical.

The mineral content of the Dead Sea is quite different than the ocean, as is its taste. It tastes wretched! It does, however, have a therapeutic effect on skin. The first health resort on the Dead Sea was built by King Herod (Masada). Doctors in the middle east and in Europe, often send patients to the Dead Sea as part of their treatment for various skin disorders.

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Sunrise on the Dead Sea.For being a dead sea, it sure is pretty.
About 1/2 of our group took a dip in the Dead Sea late that night. The rest went in the morning.The water is crystal clear. Tastes like battery acid tho. It’s pretty funny to take a dip in the Dead Sea. Your body floats in the weirdest way. Here’s Brenda checking out her new-found floating abilities.

(For more on this, be sure to see the movie clip section)

Here are some people that weren’t in our group, just goofing off.
I liked this photo.I used a circular polarizer to cut through the water’s glare.

(For more on this, be sure to see the movie clip section)

As the Dead Sea shrinks (less input from the Jordan due to irrigation), sinkholes are popping up. The hotel wasn’t near these sinkholes.