Dead and dying, sortof

Dead Sea 3.JPG

Word on the street has it that the surface of the Dead Sea (Arab Al-Bahr al-Mayyit; Heb Yam ha-Melah) is falling at a rate of three feet a year (See link here). Runoff from adjoining areas is being captured and redirected, depriving the deepest hypersaline lake in the world of traditional water sources (including the Jordan River). Mind you, no one is worried that it will dry out anytime soon; the lake is more than a thousand feet deep. Beyond this, it is hypothesized that the rate of shrinkage cannot remain constant (find out why in an excellent BBC report linked here). Still, there are known and unknown consequences. More than 5,500 sinkholes have opened up along the recently exposed shore in the last 40 years. These have swallowed cars, people, date palms, gas stations, and even resorts!

I captured this image the day before yesterday from a viewpoint along Highway 90 north of Ein Gedi. Note the shadowed contours suggestive of coastlines in the recent past.