The Dead Sea is a unique place on earth and it has been around since millions of years ago. Several historical figures have had ties with the famous body of water. Cleopatra was said to be the first to build cosmetic factories around the area, and King Herod had also written about its benefits. Even Aristotle’s writings were filled with praises for the remarkable water. Rumor has it that the true baptismal site of Jesus of Nazareth is at the western bank of Jordan (Qasr el Yahud), just a few kilometers to the north.
Here are ten interesting facts about the Dead Sea that will make you admire the world-famous, natural wonder even more.
- The Dead Sea is not a sea but a lake. It is a salty lake lying between Israel and Jordan. Water flows in from Jordan River but does not flow out.
- It’s a common myth that you cannot drown in the Dead Sea because your body is always afloat. However, there are many incidents of unintentional drowning in the lake. It’s hard to maneuver your body in a high-density water. If you accidentally flip face down, it’s difficult to turn on your back. The water can also be fatal when ingested so, yes, you can technically drown in the Dead Sea.
- The water was called “dead” because no aquatic animals and plants can live in it – except for a few bacteria and fungi. Two algal bloom events occurred in 1980 and 1992 that colored the Dead Sea red.
- It is a well-known center for wellness. Research scientists are keen on exploring the Dead Sea for health treatments because of several amazing factors. The atmosphere in the Dead Sea has very low content of pollen and other allergens. Ultraviolet radiation is also reduced in the area.
- Unlike table salt, Dead Sea salt tastes bitter. That is because normal seas contain 97% salt (sodium chloride) and Dead Sea only contains 12-18% - the rest are high concentrations of minerals.
- It’s always dry and sunny in the Dead Sea. Rain is not very common, only averaging 50 millimeters of annual rainfall.
- The Dead Sea is the world’s lowest elevation on land. Its shore is 418 meters below sea level.
- Because the Dead Sea contains high levels of Potassium, this chief fertilizer used in agriculture all over the world is manufactured straight from the lake.
- It’s the second saltiest body of water in the world. Its salinity is 8.6 times greater than the typical ocean. It comes second to Lake Asal in Djibouti, Africa.
- There are several types of therapy being practiced at the Dead Sea that aim to cure many health conditions – from psoriasis to arthritis. Climatotherapy refers to a treatment modality that exploits the climatic features of the area. Heliotherapy takes advantage of the biological effects of sun’s radiation. Thalassotherapy uses bathing in Dead Sea water in their treatment and Balneotherapy uses the black mud of the Dead Sea.