THE DEAD SEA
85 kms. long with an average width of 14 kms. It is part of the great tectonic rift running from the north of the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is the lowest spot of the earth, its surface level being 395 metres below sea level. The waters are exceedingly rich in minerals. The salts (up to 33%) are composed of chlorides, bromides, and potash. These salts constitute the most important single mineral resource of the country and were exploited by the Palestine Potash Company.
No form of organic life is possible in these saline waters which have therefore acquired the name of the Dead Sea. The climate is marked by sharp fluctuations of temperature from day to night. In summer the temperature may be as much as 45-50 C. The powerful evaporation causes a high humidity and the climate is exceedingly difficult during the greater part of the year.
In Hebrew it is known as the Salt Sea and the Arabic name of Bahr Lut, i.e. the Sea of Lot is based on the Biblical story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha. In the days of the Romans the Dead Sea was known as the Asphalt Lake.