The Beautiful Dead Sea
The Dead Sea. It doesn't sound too appealing does it? I remember the Dead Sea from bible study in Sunday school when I was a little girl. It was something long forgotten until recently when I saw it on a popular reality show. I'm 37 years old and I am embarrassed to admit that I thought the Dead Sea was just something in the bible that didn't exist anymore but there it was!! It was the beautiful Dead Sea and memories came flooding back from those early bible studies. How beautiful is the DEAD SEA!?! I immediately felt drawn to it and wanted to learn more about this body of water. It is fascinating to me that it has been there as long as it has. In fact, It is believed to be around 3 million years old. I hope that one day before I leave this earth, I get to visit this beautiful, historic body of water.
The Dead Sea also called the Salt Sea or Killer Sea is a salty lake that is located deep in the Jordan Valley near Isreal. It is believed that Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zebouin, and Zoar were all located where the Dead Sea now sits. It is 42 miles long and at it's widest point 11 miles. It's not the ocean but certainly larger than the average lake. It is 1,237 feet deep and is the deepest salt lake in the world. It is also the lowest elevation in the world, over 1,300 feet below sea level. It is actually not the sea at all. The Dead Sea is a "endorheic" lake. Endorheic means that it does not flow out into any ocean or streams and the only major source of water flowing into the Dead Sea is the Jordan River. The only way water can escape from the Dead Sea is through evaporation and the rate of evaporation is quite high because of heat, humidity and other factors in the area.
Another fascinating fact about the Dead Sea is that it is one of the saltiest bodies of water on the earth having more than 8 times the salt content of the ocean.The rapid evaporation of water is part of the reason for the salt accumulation in the sea. Looking out at the edges of the sea where the water meets the land, you can see salt rock accumulations all along the rocks and cliffs. Ever wonder why it's called the Dead Sea? The salt content is so high that plants, fish and other sea life can not live in the water. If by accident a fish enters, like from the inlet of the Jordan river, it would certainly die and be washed up to shore and be covered with halite or salt rock. Some bacteria and one type of algae is all that can live in the Sea. That is some serious salt!
Because of the high salt and mineral content, the Dead Sea is a much sought after spa and health retreat. It has apparently been sought after for years. It is said that Cleopatra built the first spa on the shores of the Dead Sea. The water and mud from the lake is said to have healing qualities.The high atmospheric pressure there is said to be good for those suffering respiratory problems and the reduced ultraviolet rays along with the salt and minerals help a great deal with skin disorders. The salts and minerals from the Dead Sea are very popular in the cosmetics industry and are ingredients in many cosmetic items being sold throughout the world.
The first thing that struck me about this beautiful body of water was the bluish-green color. It almost looks like something out of a fantasy with the beautiful hills and landscape that surrounds it. Interesting too is because of the massive salt content people actually float in the water without any effort at all- it's actually hard to swim. Imagine like you are a huge fishing bobber- that's how it would feel to go for a dip in the dead sea. People can be seen floating in the sea reading a book or newspaper without any effort at all.
In conclusion, I would like to mention the Dead Sea Scrolls that were found in between the years of 1947 and 1956- not too long ago actually. They were found inside 11 caves along the north west shore of the Dead Sea. They are an ancient collection of texts from the Hebrew bible. The scrolls were the oldest group of Old Testament manuscripts ever found. This is just another fascinating piece of history about this place I learned about as a child. There is lots of great information about the scrolls at the Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation. Most of the scrolls are now housed at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and a few others in Jordan and Europe.
I hope you have enjoyed my hub on the Dead Sea. I hope you find it as fascinating and interesting as I do. If you have been to the Dead Sea, I would love to hear all about your experience! Thanks to everyone for reading and please feel free to comment. God Bless!
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