A Salt Island In The Dead Sea
Are you searching for a unique place on earth? Then an isolated dead tree located on a small salt formation in the middle of the Dead Sea is for you!
The Dead Sea is located in the Jordan valley bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west, and about 55 km southeast of Amman. Apart from being the saltiest lake in the world, it is also Earth’s lowest elevation on land.
You have to fall 423 meters below sea level to reach its surface and shores. At 377 meters deep, it is also the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. The Dead Sea has a salinity level of 33.7%, which is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean, is so high that it has become a favourite tourist attraction to swim on the surface.
As much as 340 grams of salt is evaporated per litre of water. The extreme salt concentration prevents any sort of macroscopic aquatic life such as fish and plants to flourish there, though minuscule quantities of bacteria and microbial fungi are present. The water of the lake is so dense that it is unmanageable to sink in the Dead Sea.
How does salt formation occur in salt Island?
The Dead Sea is supported by the Jordan River but there is no outlet. Salts have collected in the basin, sometimes by percolation through the surrounding earth, slowly building up over the centuries. The water contains more than 35 different types of minerals including magnesium, potassium, calcium, sulfur, bromine, and iodine.
The odd chemistry ends in the appearance of some impressive, but moving, salt crystal formations. In shallow pools at periodic intervals, these formations are natural works of art, billions of energized atoms in complex geometrical formations shaped by nature into novel works of crystalline art.
Because the ions and isotopes present in the water of the Dead Sea crystallize in different ways, there is a diverse array of natural formations. Hard, light-grey-to-brownish crusts of gypsum (hydrated calcium sulphate) can be observed on the keels of boats, on rocks, and on ropes left hanging in the water.
The relatively large, flat polygonal plates in gypsum crystals give rise to more crusty structures by clusters of calcite (crystalline calcium carbonate) which has crystals favouring small twinned needles, these needles lock together in patterns resembling blossoms of white anemones.
Along the shores of the Dead Sea variations in the forms depend on how ions are arranged within the structure and whether other ions or trace elements find their way into the lattice to replace for particles with the same charge.
Even earthly compounds such as calcium carbonate can take on a spectacular view when an increase in temperature, usually at the end of summer, triggers mass shower, the result is an exciting whitening of the water as snowy clouds of the compound slowly drop to the sea bed. Turbulence and wave motion increase the deposition of the crystals and give the water a stunning, nebulous quality.
On some occasions, layers of air bubbles from foam-like surf on the ocean. At other times, chips of asphalt decorate the Dead Sea.
In recent decades, the Dead Sea has been quickly shrinking as increasing amounts of water are pulled off from the streams and rivers flowing into the lake and utilized in agriculture, mining and industry.
As the water level drops, the characteristics of the Sea and the surrounding region may considerably change. With time, some of these natural formations and phenomena of the sea will endure. Already the evaporation rate beats the inflow rate and finally, the whole area will become mudflats.
In 2009 a project to save the Dead Sea was proposed. The plan is to carry seawater from the Red Sea, desalinate it along the path to provide fresh water to Jordan, with the brine discharge sent to the Dead Sea for replenishment.
The fascinating facts behind the beautiful dead sea:
The Dead Sea is all kinds of things – a natural wonder, the lowest place on earth, its saltiest water body and a wonderful place to schmear on some mud and feels all rejuvenated. It’s also technically a lake. But most importantly, it’s fast disappearing.
Back in the 1930s, the Dead Sea covered over 385 square miles. Nowadays, it only spread to 250. The drop in sea level, according to Israel’s Water Authority, is the result of two main factors: the diversion of water sources and mineral extraction.
In the past, water from the Jordan River and its tributary, the Yarmouk River, flowed south and filled up the Dead Sea. In the past few decades, however, dams were built in Israel, Syria and Jordan, in impact, almost all these dams are entirely preventing the flow of water into the salty lake.
If that wasn’t troubling enough, the pumping carried out by the Israeli and Jordanian mineral factories on both of its shores has further exacerbated decreasing water levels.
As a consequence, the Dead Sea’s water level has been declining at an astounding rate of three feet a year.
This doesn’t emerge as a complete surprise to visitors to the area, who from year to year have to pass more and more land to make it to the water. The lifeguard huts that were once located on the water’s edge now stand abandoned on rocky ranges of the shore as a stark warning of the receding waterline.
This is an ongoing ecological disaster caused by human activity. This is especially crucial in the geologically and environmentally unique Dead Sea, which is residence to rare and unique animals, plants and geological phenomena.
What can be made to stop the Dead Sea from shrinking even farther? According to EcoPeace, allowing additional water flows into the Lower Jordan River and the Dead Sea and decreasing the Israeli and Jordanian mineral industry’s use of Dead Sea water could prevent the natural wonder from shrinking and enable us all to enjoy its beauty in years to come.