What is the Dead Sea?

This is certainly a strange name for a mass of water but no other sea in the world has had such a variety of names! It was first Called "dead sea" by ancient Greek writers. The Hebrews called it "the salt sea", among other names.

Arab writers called it "the stinking sea". What is so strange about this sea? It lies in deep through, or "rift", which is a deep depression in this area. The Dead Sea is about 48 miles long, and ranges from 3 to 11 miles in width.

Now, comes the amazing part. The Dead Sea is the lowest area of water in the world. The surface of this sea is about 400 meters below sea level. The southern part of the sea is very shallow, but in the north the debt is about 400 meters.

There are no rivers flowing out of the Dead Sea. But into it drain the River Jordan from the north and many small streams from the surrounding slopes. There is only one way that surplus water can be carried away by evaporation.

This Leaves a large concentration of minerals, such as salt, potash, magnesium chloride and bromine behind in the water. The Dead Sea is the world’s saltiest area of water. The water is about six times as salty as that of the oceans! There are so many minerals concentrated in this sea, that a man swimming in it will float with his head and shoulders out of the water at all times!

These minerals can be valuable to man. In fact, it is estimated that dissolved in this water are about two million tons of potash, which is used in making artificial fertilizers.       

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