The Dead Sea is an endorheic lake located in the Jordan Rift Valley, a geographic feature formed by the Dead Sea Transform (DST). This left lateral-moving transform fault lies along the tectonic plate boundary between the African Plate and the Arabian Plate. It runs between the East Anatolian Fault zone in Turkey and the northern end of the Red Sea Rift offshore of the southern tip of Sinai. There are two contending theories about the origin of the low elevation of the Dead Sea. The older theory is that it lies in a true rift zone, an extension of the Red Sea Rift, or even of the Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa. A more recent theory is that the Dead Sea basin is a consequence of a "step-over" discontinuity along the Dead Sea Transform, creating extension of the crust with consequent subsidence.
Around three million years ago what is now the valley of the Jordan River, Dead Sea, and Wadi Arabah was repeatedly inundated by waters from the Mediterranean Sea. The waters formed in a narrow, crooked bay which was connected to the sea through what is now the Jezreel Valley. The floods of the valley came and went depending on long scale climatic change. The lake that occupied the Dead Sea Rift, named "Lake Sodom", deposited beds of salt, eventually coming to be 3 km (2 miles) thick.
According to geological theory, approximately two million years ago the land between the Rift Valley and the Mediterranean Sea rose to such an extent that the ocean could no longer flood the area. Thus, the long bay became a lake.
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The Dead Sea
The Dead Sea, the name by which this large salt lake is commonly known, is one of Israel's unique geographical features and the lowest spot on earth. The Dead Sea, is about 9 miles from Jericho. It is 48 miles long - north to south and 10 miles wide at its widest point. Its area is about 360 sq. Miles; its maximun depth 1,310 feet.
Dead Sea and Jerusalem
Its shores are the lowest parts of the earth's surface - 1,292 feet below sea level and 3,786 feet lower than Jerusalem.
The salinity of the Dead Sea water is five times that of ocean water, that is, 23 to 25 per cent salt as opposed to 4 to 6 per cent in ocean water. Analysis discloses the following mineral contents: Chlorine - 67%, Bromine - 1.98%, Sulphate - 0.22%, Sodium - 10.2%, Potassium - 1.6%, Calcium - 1.51%, Magnesium - 16.8%.
Dead Sea & Jerusalem slide show
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The Dead Sea's climate offers year-round sunny skies and dry air with low pollution. It has less than 100 millimetres (3.94 in) mean annual rainfall and a summer average temperature between 32 and 39 �C (90-102�F). Winter average temperatures range between 20 and 23 �C (68-74�F). The region has weakened ultraviolet radiation, particularly the UVB (erythrogenic rays), and an atmosphere characterized by a high oxygen content due to the high barometric pressure. The shore is the lowest dry place in the world.Proximity to the sea affects temperatures nearby because of the moderating effect a large body of water has on climate. During the winter months, sea temperatures tend to be higher than land temperatures, and vice versa during the summer months. This is the outcome of slow penetration of the sun's rays into the sea, which is a huge mass that takes a long time to warm up.
Dead Sea Climatic Features and Therapies
The Dead Sea Scrolls
Who found the dead sea scrolls? The collection of scrolls - rolls of ancient manuscripts were found by two Bedouin shepherds of the Ta'amira Tribe who were seeking lost goats in the forbidding cliffs along the gorge adjoining Qumran and at the falling away of the entrance to an ancient cave, where they observed that the tumbling stone had broken the lids of jars in the cave and exposed the end of scrolls in them.
The cave must have contained between 40 and 60 cylindrical jars. Sensing that the scrolls might have monetary value, the Bedouins took some of the linen-wrapped rolls to Bethlehem. Soon after the discovery of the Dead sea Scrolls, large scale archaeological excavations were carried out at the site if Qumran and in its environs. Apart from the book of Esther, all book of the Old Testament were found as well as some books of the Apocrypha, commentaries, and scrolls dealing with the sect's code of ethics and beliefs. These old Testament manuscripts are almost 1000 years older than previously know manuscripts but amazingly similar.
Many detailed reports by scholars about the history, excavations, research and studies of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been published in different languages throughout the world, the site is visited daily by large numbers of people. The scrolls are "of revolutionary importance for Biblical and related studies" - W.F. Albright. They are important to scholars in the fields of textual criticism, interpretation of the Old Testament, the intergovernmental and the New Testament periods.
One of the scholars who recognized the antiquity of the scrolls was the late Prof. Eleazar L. Sukenik of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was subsequently successful in purchasing some of them just before the outbreak of the Arab-Israel was in 1948. His son, the late (gen.) Prof. Yigael Yadin was aboe to acquire more scrolls - some of which are exhibited in the Shrine if the Book at the Israel Museum and in the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.
A rough Dead Sea, with salt deposits on cliffs. copyright holder of this work M Disdero
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