In Ezekiel 47:1-10, the prophet says that there will be a time in the future when the Dead Sea will be healed of its salty waters by a stream flowing
eastward from the Temple, and that the Sea will teem with fish.
Nothing grows in the immediate area of the Dead Sea and there is no animal life but the sea has attracted visitors for thousands of years.
It's a Biblical place that exists because the land has been sinking for millennia due to the continents of Africa and Asia pulling away from each other and
the depression makes the lake the lowest surface feature on Earth at about 1,300 feet (nearly 400 meters) below sea level. It contains 30 percent of sodium,
magnesium, calcium and other salts, it has the highest mineral content of any body of water in the world.
Between 1947 and 1956, a series of 972 ancient texts were discovered in caverns near the sea's northeastern shore. These Dead Sea Scrolls were written on
papyrus and paper and contained details from the Hebrew Bible and other biblical documents.
The ancient Egyptians used salts from the Dead Sea for mummification, fertilizers and potash (a potassium-based salt).
In the modern age, the sodium chloride and potassium salts culled from the sea are also used in part for water conditioning, road de-icing and by the chemical
industry for the manufacturing of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics.
The Dead Sea, located between the Judean Hills on the west and the Hills of Moab on the east, is 48 miles long, and 11 miles at the widest point, and
is fed by the Jordan River.
According to researchers at Tel Aviv University researchers finds that the Dead Sea almost dried up over 100,000 years ago and this rapidly dropping
water levels of the Dead Sea has been a source of ecological concern for years.
Steven Goldstein, a professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University and a study researcher, says that early drill cores show that the
Dead Sea has already dried up at least a couple of times
with no human pressure in the past couple of hundred thousand years.
Click on image to enlarge
The expansion of massive salt evaporation projects on the Dead Sea are clearly visible in this time series of images taken by Landsat
satellites operated by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey. Credit: NASA/Landsat/K. Lewis
"Drying up by itself means that this water resource that people depend on now basically stopped by itself," he said.
"Climate models predict a greater aridity with a warmer climate," he noted.
"Just imagine what this means if a warming climate results in the present day water supply becoming scarcer and scarcer," Goldstein says.
Click on image to enlarge
This false-color image was captured by the Landsat 1, 4 & 7 satellites. Visible is the Lisan Peninsula (bottom center) that forms a land bridge
through the Dead Sea. Deep waters are dark blue, while pale blue shows salt ponds and shallow waters to the south. The pale pink and sand-colored regions
are desert lands. Denser vegetation appears bright red. Credit: NASA/Landsat
With climate change, the Dead Sea region is expected to become more arid, resulting in more pressure on water resources.
And recent signs suggest things are already happening; in 1930 the lake's surface was 1,280 feet (390 meters) below seal level, dropping to 1,381 feet
(421 m) below sea level in 2008 due to water being used up by humans before it could even reach the lake, the researchers said.
Rock layers on the shore had already revealed that the lake has fluctuated in size, filling the entire Jordan Rift Valley during the last Ice Age.
But the newly unearthed core showed that during the last interglacial period, about 120,000 years ago, the lake dried up, perhaps entirely. At that point,
Goldstein and his colleagues found a layer of round beach pebbles on top of a 147-foot (45-m) layer of mostly salt.
"It looks like the beach deposits that we see on the shore," Goldstein said.
But this core was taken in what was then the center of the lake basin.
Apparently, the Dead Sea dried up dramatically, in the warm period before the last Ice Age and left its salt behind.
"That past dry-down was climate-driven," said Zvi Ben-Avraham, chief scientist on the project and a researcher at Tel-Aviv University."
But today the lake is threatened more directly by humans."
Researchers drilled 460 meters beneath the sea floor and extracted sediments spanning 200,000 years.
The material reveals the region's past climatic conditions.
The Dead Sea's water levels have risen and fallen by hundreds of meters over the last 200,000 years. During the last interglacial period,
approximately 120,000 years ago, the sea came close to drying up entirely, the researchers found, with another period of extreme dryness taking place
about 13,000 years ago.
But there is a difference. In the past, the Dead Sea's problems were climate-driven - the result of natural conditions.
Today, the situation seems to be different - the Biblical body of water is threatened by human activity.
Additionally, there is also a problem with the global warming. This scenario is rather bad for the Dead Sea. "… the area is going to be even drier and
warmer than it is today," said Emi Ito, a study researcher from the University of Minnesota.
Today, the Dead Sea lies 426 meters below sea level and is receding rapidly. The scientists say, this is a man-made phenomenon.
Giant Underwater Canyon Zhemchug
Can Only Be Seen Entirely From Space
We continue to explore amazing places on our beautiful planet.
This time we take a journey deep beneath the oceans. Hidden beneath all that water are some of the biggest natural formations on earth.
Deep underwater we find the longest mountain ranges, the tallest volcanoes and the deepest canyons...
Amazing Footage Of Ocean Currents
Remote sensing from satellites is the most efficient way to get global information about these vast, hard-to measure
expanses like for example - our oceans.
The ocean is a major player in the Earth system. It is in constant motion. Winds drive currents on the ocean
surface and these currents in turn mix down into the ocean depths.
Dangerous Fast and Furious - Birth Of Africa's New Ocean - with video
The only places where mid-ocean ridges appear above sea level are Ethiopia and Iceland.
Two new studies into the so-called “plumbing systems” that lie under volcanoes could bring scientists closer to predicting large
eruptions and reveal new information about where magma is stored and how it moves through the geological plumbing network.
Hot Flow Anomalies Are Amazing Phenomenon On Venus
Hot flow anomalies release so much energy that the solar wind is deflected, and can even move back toward the Sun.
That’s a lot of energy when you consider that the solar wind is supersonic, traveling faster than the speed of sound and the HFA is strong enough
to make it turn around.
As the solar wind flows around Venus, it creates similar space weather effects as it does near Earth, but rememeber that Venus has no protective
magnetic field, so the explosion happens right above the surface of the planet!
New Kepler Explorer:
View The 1,790 Distant Planetary Systems - For Free!
Armchair explorers of the cosmos can now have at their fingertips the nearly 2,000 distant planetary systems discovered by NASA's Kepler Mission.
Now available for free from the iTunes App Store, Kepler Explorer was developed through the OpenLab initiative at UC Santa Cruz,
which brought together faculty and students in astrophysics, art, and technology for a summer institute last year.
The Wandering Stars
In ancient civilizations, people pondered the meanings of the stars, watching for clues to their survival: the beginning of planting and
harvesting times, the seasons, and even portents of danger.
They soon noticed that certain stars didn't stay in place, but wandered amongst the fixed star field.