By: Julie Nelson
Bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west, the Dead Sea is a hyper-saline lake at Earth’s lowest surface point. It also happens to be one of the most fascinating bodies of water on the planet.
Its name gives an impression of a dull, lifeless body of water that should be last on a list of vacation spots, however when given a chance, it tends to defy expectations. Here’s 5 reasons why:
1. It’s one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. The Dead Sea is eight times saltier than any ocean, which makes our bodies more buoyant than ever. Swimming is near impossible, so visitors usually lean back and and use the water as their own floatation device.
2. The fish are not “dead,” they’re just not there. The high level of salt in the water makes it uninhabitable for any plant or animal life. In fact, the only thing that resides in the water is recently discovered bacteria. While this makes the Dead Sea a fisherman’s nightmare, it also makes it the perfect place for people who hate the feeling of strange things brushing their legs in the open water.
3. The mud found on the Dead Sea floor is great for your skin. The black mud found on the seabed is high in magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium, which can give you a mud bath better than you could find in a spa. Although if you want the full on spa experience, there are plenty of them all around the sea’s coast.
4. What flows in, doesn’t flow out. While the lake itself is fed by the River Jordan and other small streams, it does not have a place where the water leaves. High temperatures in the area make evaporation an almost constant occurrence, which makes it so the Dead Sea never overflows. The evaporation is also another reason why the lake is so insanely salty.
5. Where it is rich in salt, it is also rich in history. The Dead Sea is almost three million years old and is said to be first spotted by Herod the Great, the Roman King of Judea. Cleopatra is also thought to have been a large promoter of the benefits of its mud and waters, and it has been found that the Egyptians used the asphalt it produced (yes, the Dead Sea even produces asphalt) to help mummify their pharaohs.