The Dead Sea is dying!

Not exactly current news, but ABC News, Saturday, July 12, 2008, had a report about this. Read the story, and find a link to the video here. In a word, the Dead Sea is drying up because of a lack of water. Water that once flowed into the Dead Sea from the Jordan River is now being diverted primarily by Israel, and Jordan for domestic and agricultural use. The Jordan River no longer experiences the annual flooding that was known even fifty years ago. I have seen a tremendous change in the 41 years that I have been traveling in the area.

The Dead Sea is called the Salt Sea in the Bible (Genesis 14:3; Numbers 34:3, 12). Josephus knew the Dead Sea at Lake Asphaltites in Roman times (Antiquities 1.174; 15:168).

Many old sources have listed the Dead Sea as being 1,292 feet below sea level. According to a study in 2005, the sea was 1,368 feet below sea level. That number would be greater now. The lowest point in the United States is 282 feet below sea level, at Death Valley in California.

This photo shows encrustations of salt that build up on the rocks along the shore of the Dead Sea.

Here is a photo of a sign, a bit defaced, in Jordan at sea level showing a cross-section topography of the Dead Sea.

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