Is the Dead Sea doomed to disappear ?
A short essay on the Dead Sea threat of disappearance
A sinkhole on the Dead Sea shoreline
The Dead Sea is regarded as one of the Wonders of the World. At 430.5 meters (1412 feet) below sea level, it is the lowest place on Earth. Its 34.2% salinity makes it one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water.
It is a unique geological phenomenon, located in an arid area between Israel and Jordan. However, this unique wonder is under colossal devastation. The Dead Sea is dying rapidly. Each year, the Dead Sea is retreating by more than three feet, creating sudden sinkholes. Thus due to multitude of reasons: A decline in its water sources, mineral extraction, draughts and climate change. The sea is fed primarily by the Jordan River which has dropped by more than 90 percent from its recorded peak. This is largely due to the water being pumped upstream for agriculture and drinking water supply. Groundwater is another source that is being depleted due to the growing need for drinking water. In addition, seawater is evaporating naturally and quickly. Climate change is expected to cause rise of temperatures and increasing reduction of rainfall.
View of salt evaporation pans on the Dead Sea, taken in 1989 from the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-28). The southern half is separated from the northern half because of the fall in level of the Dead Sea /NASA
Mineral extraction – companies on both sides of the border are pumping billions of gallons per year for harvesting valuable minerals as potash, bromine and magnesium. Millions of tons of cooking salt are accumulated as leftovers from this mining process which cannot be returned back to the sea due to the danger of flooding tourists resorts areas that have developed over the years around the Dead Sea.
Rich in minerals and textures the Dead Sea is regarded as one of world’s wonder
The condition of the Dead Sea and the ramifications of its decline is a major concern for scientists and people in Israel and Jordan. Nevertheless, the political situation and the complexity of mining and tourism industries brought endless scientific and technological discussions on what would be the right solution. The last agreement between all parties was on a $1.5-billion project to build a desalination facility in Jordan to transform Red Sea water into drinking water, while pumping the remaining salty brine into the Dead Sea.
There is no easy solution to the problem and even the above one is being criticized by scientists that warn of de-balancing the ecosystem of the Dead Sea and its surroundings.