Salty beach

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Sep 13 2015

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Category: Jordan, Middle East

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My old Hachette guide tells me that very long ago, before the Tertiary Era, the Dead Sea was an expanse of sweet water lying above (!) the level of the Mediterranean. After the dislocation of the valley of the Jordan it sank to great depths and came into contact with salt deposits deep down in the earth. Since then this massive body of water fills the bottom of a great depression. Its surface is about 400 meter below sea-level and its maximum depth is another 400 meter. We call it the Dead Sea because its concentration of salt is so high that no fish can survive in it.

The rivers Jordan and Armon, and some smaller streams, pour out every day 6 million liters of water into the Dead Sea, which has of course no outlet. But almost all this extra water soon evaporates so that the water level has hardly risen over time.

The salt content of the Dead Sea is about 25 % and because of this a person going for a bath doesn’t sink; his body keeps floating on the surface. Apart from this salt, the water contains a large variety of other mineral salts, one of them – calcium chloride – giving the water a strange oily feel. A plunge in the Dead Sea may be an interesting sensation and good for your skin, but when you come out, all you want is spraying yourself clean as soon as you can.

Dead Sea 2010 - blog size

Photos of the week: Crystallized salt at Dead Sea coast, Jordan 2010

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