Disappearing of the Dead Sea

Posted 23rd December 2015

The Dead Sea is eight times saltier than the ocean and is an expanse of water where water flows in, but not out. The high temperatures of the area evaporate the water resulting in a higher concentration of minerals. Resulting in the water being incredibly dense. This is what makes staying afloat so easy.

The Old Testament refers to a number of prophecies that the Dead Sea will one day be habitable for marine life; however, destructive behaviour since the 1970s means that the future of the Dead Sea is at great risk. Disappearing at a rate of 1 meter every year since 1970, a series of not-so-old resort ruins demonstrate just how dramatic the retreat has been.

What has caused this?
Traditionally the Dead Sea has been sustained by the River Jordan but the diversion of this river for irrigation purposes to Syria, Jordan, and Israel means that the Dead Sea now only receives 20% of its original volume of water from the River Jordan. It is estimated that over 2 billion gallons of water is redirected.

In the south, industry in Israel and Jordan have turned the Dead Sea into an industrial quagmire by extracting the unique minerals found here. This process dries out large plains and is also a contributing factor for the shrinking of the sea.

What are the implications of this?
Many sinkholes now mark the landscape and have turned parts of the coast into danger zones. It’s estimated that there are over 4000 dotted around the coastline. Sinkholes are created when cavernous spaces beneath the surface layer are depleted of the water that fills them. The surface layer then collapses into the empty space creating these vast holes that can plunge 80 feet deep into the ground. While sinkholes in this area do occur naturally, the number of sinkholes seen is four times more than it was 10 years ago which shows the extent of the problem.

Prevention measures?
It has been proposed that the volume of water flowing from the River Jordan should be increased to a level previously seen before the 1970’s. There have also been calls to limit the activities of the mineral industry in areas of the south.

Plans are also being made to lay a 180 km long pipeline that will link the Dead Sea to the Red Sea. While this will improve the situation at the Dead Sea, the environmental problems are likely to shift elsewhere; though it is not known to what extent.

Land lost can’t be reclaimed but efforts made to stabilise the Dead Sea can hopefully stop the sea from dropping every year and mean that the situation doesn’t escalate to an Aral Sea level of crisis.

Check out our tours with these unique experiences below

Prefer to do a tailor-made itinerary where you can choose your unique experiences and build your perfect trip? Click here to contact us today.
Call us on:020 7183 6371

Trip Finder


Or search directly from our list of tours: