Dead Sea

The Dead Sea (in Hebrew, Yam Hamelach or Salt Sea) is an endorheic lake - 67 kilometers long, 18 kilometers at its widest - along the Jordan Rift Valley and bordered by the West Bank, Israel, and Jordan.

With 33.7% water salinity, the Dead Sea is the planet’s second saltiest body of water and, with the exception of certain types of halophilic archaebacteria and fungi, barren of life. The Dead Sea’s shores are 420 meters below sea level, making it the lowest place on the planet’s exterior, and its deepest point is 800 meters below sea level, making the Dead Sea the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. The Jordan River is the main source of water for the Dead Sea.

A leading tourist attraction and a major source of potassium, bromine and magnesium, the Dead Sea is of great economic importance to Israel and Jordan. Visitors to the Dead Sea traditionally cover themselves in the mud found at the water's edge, believed to have therapeutic properties due to its high concentration of minerals. The salinity of the water also creates a buoyancy effect, with bathers able to float on the sea's surface.

Throughout history the Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin, and its minerals have been tapped to produce a variety of products, ranging from cosmetics and herbal sachets to mummification balms and potash for fertilizer.