Friday, 19 October 2012

Strange Salt Formations in the Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is located in the Jordan valley bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west, and about 55 km southeast of Amman. Aside from the being the saltiest lake in the world, it is also Earth's lowest elevation on land. You have to descend 423 meters below sea level to reach its surface and shores. At 377 meters deep, it is also the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. Dead Sea has a salinity level of of 33.7%, which is 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. As much as 340 grams of salt is dissolved per liter of water. 

Mushrooms usually begin to form on cool mornings, after periods of intense evaporation when the shallow lagoons become covered with floating rectangular halite crystals. The crystals blanket the surface of the water with an opaque, exceptionally delicate coating; the most gentle breeze can break this sheet and when it breaks, parts of it sink and the crystals attach themselves to plant debris or pebbles. 

In 2009 a project to conserve the Dead Sea was proposed. The plan is to convey seawater from the Red Sea, desalinate it along the route to provide fresh water to Jordan, with the brine discharge sent to the Dead Sea for replenishment. The project is anticipated to be completed by 2017. 

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