The dead sea one of Earths most extreme locations
04 Aug 2014 4 PM
An astounding 427m below sea level, the Dead Sea is frequently referred to as one of the world’s most astonishing natural wonders.
Thousands of people flock here every year to float in its waters – one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world.
And to celebrate the opening of the Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa later this year, here is a little taster of some of the things that truly make it one of the world’s most incredible locations that no visitor to the Middle East should miss out on.
It may be an extreme natural environment but it is certainly unforgettable.
It’s not really a sea – it’s a lake
Despite its name, the Dead Sea is not actually a sea
– it’s a lake. 50km long and 15km wide, it borders Jordan to the east and Israel to the west.
At 306m deep it’s the deepest hypersaline lake in the world – no wonder then that its Hebrew name means ‘sea of salt’.
Its basin spans an astounding six countries – Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt. And the only water source flowing into it is the Jordan River – the place where John the Baptist is to have baptised Jesus of Nazareth.
Its water is 9 times saltier than ocean water
What makes the Dead Sea so unique is the extremely high salinity of its water – around 30%.
In fact, it’s so salty that humans achieve a natural buoyancy when they swim in it – and there aren’t many places on Earth where you can simply lie back and read a book in the sea.
What is so astonishing is that the water can only escape by evaporation – trapping the salt in the lake.
One place that is comparable to it is the Great Salt Lake in Utah, USA. Often dubbed ‘America’s Dead Sea’, its salinity ranges from 5% to a whopping 27% and more and more salt is added every year through rivers and streams.
It’s the lowest point on Earth
It’s a well-known fact that Mount Everest is one of the highest points on our planet – but did you know that the Dead Sea is the lowest point?
Lying 427 metres below sea level, this lake is the lowest point on dry land on Earth.
By comparison, Mount Everest is an incredible 8,848 metres above sea level.
There’s a reason it’s called the ‘Dead’ Sea
Due to this lake’s high salt levels, it’s very difficult for animals to survive here. So it’s the harsh conditions and scarcity of animals that give it its rather morbid name.
In fact, only very few organisms can survive these extreme conditions, including a few species of bacteria and algae.
There aren’t any fish in the Dead Sea as they cannot survive in water with such a high salt concentration.So while you’re waiting for Hilton’s Dead Sea Resort to open, why not stay at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel Aqaba on the Egyptian border and then drive up to this incredible lake – passing through the ancient city of Petra on the way?
It may be one of the world’s most extreme locations, but floating in the saltiest lake in the world is certainly a memorable holiday experience – and one not to be missed.