Salt is building up in the bottom of the Dead Sea • Earth.com

Last update: August 13th, 2020 at 7:00 am

Salt is building up in the bottom of the Dead Sea Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Dead Sea, which has a salt concentration that is nearly ten times the level found in any ocean. Therefore the concentration is a high volume.

Over the past two to three decades, water levels in the Dead Sea have dropped by about 1.2 meters per year. This makes the water even saltier across the surface. 

Researchers have found that salt is raining down from the warm surface waters to the bottom of the lake, where it has been accumulating by about four additional inches each year. 

This image was captured on July 21 2019 by the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite. The Dead Sea (Hebrew: יָם הַמֶּלַח Yam ha-Melah lit. Sea of Salt; Arabic: البحر الميت‎ Al-Bahr al-Mayyit or Buhayrat, Bahret or Birket Lut, lit. “Lake/Sea of Lot”) is a salt lake bordered by Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.

Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level, Earth’s lowest elevation on land. It is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2% (in 2011), it is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water – 9.6 times as salty as the ocean – and has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating. This salinity makes for a harsh environment in which plants and animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea’s main, northern basin is 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and 15 kilometres (9 mi) wide at its widest point.

The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean Basin for thousands of years. 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 asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilisers.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

 

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