How about a video of me holding a 20-some-odd pound rock – unsuccessfully trying to sink myself in the ultra-buoyant dead sea? Hopefully that will be entertaining and educational enough to hold everyone off until I arrive back home sometime late tomorrow night.
In the meantime, here’s some factoids on the Dead Sea you may also find interesting:
- The sea is called “dead” because its high salinity means no macroscopic aquatic organisms such as fish or water plants can live in it, though minuscule quantities of bacteria and microbial fungi are present.
- In times of flood, the salt content of the Dead Sea can drop from its usual 35% salinity to 30% or lower. In the wakes of rainy winters the Dead Sea temporarily comes to life.
- Referred to sometimes in the Arabic as the sea of Lot (Bahr al-Mayyit) this salt lake lies between the West Bank and Israel to the west, and Jordan to the east. At 420 metres (1,378 ft) below sea level, its shores are the lowest point on Earth that are on dry land.
- At 330 m deep (1,083 feet), the Dead Sea is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world.
- The Dead Sea is 42 miles long and 11 miles wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan.
- It is also the world’s second saltiest body of water, after Lake Asal in Djibouti. With 30 percent salinity, it is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. Israeli experts say it is nine times saltier than the Mediterranean Sea.
- The human history of the Dead Sea goes all the way back to remote antiquity. Just north of the Dead Sea is Jericho, the oldest continually occupied town in the world.
The Dead Sea’s climate offers year-round sunny skies and dry air with low pollution. It has less than 50 mm mean annual rainfall and a summer average temperature between 32 and 39 °C. Winter average temperatures range between 20 and 23 °C.
The region’s climate and the unique conditions created by its low elevation have made it a popular center for several types of therapies:
- Climatotherapy: Treatment which exploits local climatic features such as temperature, humidity, sunshine, barometric pressure and special atmospheric constituents.
- Heliotherapy: Treatment that exploits the biological effects of the sun’s radiation.
- Thalassotherapy: Treatment that exploits bathing in Dead Sea water.
- Balneotherapy: Treatment that exploits black mineral mud of the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Biblically, it was a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers.
In recent decades, the Dead Sea has been rapidly shrinking because of diversion of incoming water. From an elevation of 395 m below sea level in 1970 it fell 22 m to 418 m below sea level in 2006, reaching a drop rate of 1 m per year.
In short – you might want to visit this health haven before it all dries up – even if it is like swimming in salty baby oil!by