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Dead Sea drying: A new low-point for Earth

2016-06-17 12:52:20
Dead Sea drying: A new low-point for Earth

The Dead Sea, the salty lake located at the lowest point on Earth, is gradually shrinking under the heat of the Middle Eastern sun. For those who live on its shores it's a slow-motion crisis - but finding extra water to sustain the sea will be a huge challenge.

If there's one thing everyone knows about the Dead Sea it is that you can't sink in it.

It is eight or nine times saltier than the oceans of the world - so dense and mineral rich that it doesn't even feel like normal water, more like olive oil mixed with sand.

For decades no holiday in the Holy Land or Jordan has been complete without a photograph of the bather sitting bolt upright on the surface, usually reading a newspaper to emphasise the extraordinary properties of the water.

But the Dead Sea is also a unique ecosystem and a sensitive barometer of the state of the environment in a part of the world where an arid climate and the need to irrigate farms combine to create a permanent shortage of water.

You may have read that the Dead Sea is dying. You can see why the idea appeals to headline writers but it isn't quite true.

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