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Dead Sea is Drying, Shrinking at Alarming Rate

Jun 22, 2016 04:36 AM EDT
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The extreme weather conditions are making abrupt changes to the water level of the Dead Sea, reducing three feet a year to be exact, BBC reported.

The article reported that in 1972, British engineers scratched initials on a rock to the mark the level of the water. Years later, the marks were left high and dry.

"The sea was right here when I was 18 years old, so it's not like we're talking about 500 or a 1000 years ago," Nir Vanger, who runs the business side of Ein Gedi's tourist operations, told BBC.

Although the Dead Sea cannot be totally dry, the drying of the salt lake has caused sinkholes to appear on the towns nearby. Aside from evaporation due to high temperatures, over exploitation of the lake water is also the reason behind the water level drop.

According to the Daily Mail, environmental group EcoPeace Middle East estimates around 3,000 sinkholes beside the Dead Sea.

These sinkholes have economical impacts on the tourism of Israel and Jordan. Warning signs have been placed to underline the risk of the open pits that have been appearing as a result of the sea's shrinkage. Furthermore, the roads and infrastructure that run alongside the Dead Sea are also threatened by the sinkholes.

Aside from affecting tourism, the situation has deeply affected the people living in the area, as the place has been deemed significant to their belief and culture.

Here are some interesting facts about the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea isn't actually a sea, but a saltwater lake. Sitting nearly 1,300 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea is the lowest inland area in the world.

It has a salinity of almost 33 percent, making it the saltiest body of water on earth. It is roughly 8.6 times saltier than the ocean.

Because of its high salinity, people can easily float in its water.

The Dead Sea is filled with minerals including calcium, iodine, saline, potassium and bromide, making it an ideal site for research.

And finally, it is named the Dead Sea because no life can flourish in it because of its extreme conditions.

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