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Life from the Dead Sea

Introduction to a Web Documenary about the Dead Sea

Half an hour’s drive southeast from Jerusalem lies the Dead Sea. Also known as the Sea of Salt, it is one of the lowest points on earth, situated over 400 meters below sea-level.

View of Dead Sea over Mountains

Video clip about the Dead Sea from WysInfo archives. (1 min 30 sec.)

Video Introduction
to the Dead Sea

This clip offers a brief introduction to the Dead Sea.

The quote at the beginning of the clip is from the biblical prophecy of Ezekiel 47, line 6 - 11, which describes a river that flows from the west into the Dead Sea.

Ezekiel predicts that the river will be filled with life, but the swamps and marshes of the Dead Sea "will not become fresh; they will be left for salt."

Dead Sea Geological Structure - The sea, in reality a lake, walled down its two sides by rock and dry gullies, is the lowest point in the great rift running from Syria in the north down to central Africa. 

Created when the earth’s crust was in the final stages of formation, the sea is the remaining part of the vast Lissan lake that stretched from the north of Israel to a point south of the present water line. Its shore is encircled by terraces of sedimentation that mark the levels of the Dead Sea in antiquity. 

Read more about the geological structure…

Minerals from the Dead Sea - Millions of years of evaporation have left the Dead Sea water saltier and denser than any other natural body of water, with a salt content 8 to 10 times that of the oceans. The sea offers a tremendous store of raw materials for industry and agriculture, extracted by local developers through a system of evaporation. 

Read more about the minerals and resources of the sea….

Therapeutic Value of the Dead Sea - There is a unique therapeutic potential in the sea providing relief from rheumatic pain and psoriasis as well as various other health disorders.

The exclusive nature of this potential derives from having a combination of the following factors concentrated in the same place:

  • Hot mineral springs

  • Therapeutic mud rich in organic materials, salts and hormones

  • Low ultra-violet radiation

  • A high level of oxygen

  • The Dead Sea water itself, enriched by magnesium, bromine and iodine.

Read more about the therapeutic properties of the sea….  

Dead Sea Flora - Botanically, the flanks and south of the Dead Sea belong to the Saharo-Sindi region and therefore are of a desert nature. But around the springs and delta streams, the flora is varied.

The heat, and extreme difference in the quality of waters coming from several sources, provides the necessary conditions for tropical and hydrophilic vegetation, as well as for plants that can live on salty water. One of the most famous and unique plants of the area, the Rose of Jericho, has been the object of many legends around the world.

Read more about the flora of the Dead Sea Region….

Dead Sea Fauna - The Dead Sea area is blessed with diverse fauna due to relatively high heat and humidity, and owing to the coincidence of various terrains – that of the rift valley, the desert and the tropics – a factor which permits the wildlife of these different territories to live together.

Added to this, the Dead Sea Valley lies beneath the migration path of nomadic birds, traveling between Africa and Northern Europe.

Read more about the fauna found in the Dead Sea Region…

Dead Sea History - The ‘Sea of Salt’ is first mentioned in the Bible in connection with Sodom and the neighboring settlements. The Biblical Sodom has never been found, but remnants of the Chalcolithic period have been uncovered in the area, dating habitation to 3000 B.C.

From the Israelite to the end of the Byzantine Eras, the land provided a passageway for merchant caravans and a recreation spot for the whole region.

Strategic areas were reinforced by fortresses, the most famous of which was Masada. This fortress was reconstructed and embellished by King Herod, and then used as the last stronghold during the Jewish fight for freedom against the Roman legions –  70 years after the birth of Christ.  

Dead Sea Scrolls - Nearby caves were used for refuge by rebels and religious sects, considered by many as the fore-founders of Christianity. The most well known caves are the Kumran caves, in which the mysterious Essene sect wrote and hid the Dead Sea Scrolls

The WysInfo Dead Sea History topic includes rare video clips of interviews with the late Professor Yigael Yadin on his findings in the area.
Read more about the history of the Dead Sea Region….  

Thumbnail to History

Dead Sea Agriculture  - Today, collective and cooperative settlements are discovering innovative methods for developing agriculture in the area. As a result, they are achieving maximum productivity from small units of land. Efficient irrigation through the ‘drip system’, cleansing the soil of toxics, and adaptation of plants to salty land are only some of the methods being used.

Unique climatic conditions in the winter induce early ripening of crops, allowing for successful marketing in Israel and around the world. 

Read more about the agriculture of the Region….

Plans, Hopes and Dreams for the Future - Experiments for the exploitation of solar energy have been successfully carried out in the region. These were based on the principle of collecting solar energy within the lower and heavier layer of the Dead Sea water, and transforming the contained heat into electric energy.

The idea of constructing a canal between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, and using the height difference to generate electricity and fill up the shrinking lake, was already raised at the end of the last century by Theodor Herzel who also envisioned the rebirth of the state of Israel. 

Recent political developments in the area have encouraged the consideration of an alternative plan. This plan suggests a joint venture between Israel and Jordan, to create a canal and a series of projects between the Red Sea to the Dead sea, thus helping also to bind political advantages as well as economic ones, by creating mutual interests and obligations for the two countries.  

The plans are not without controversy. The uniqueness of the Dead Sea basin has stimulated the Friends of the Earth Middle East–EcoPeace (FoEME) to come up with a holistic approach that aims at creating a Biosphere reserve and supporting an integrative concept for regional sustainable development. 

Read more about plans for the Dead Sea...

 

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