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New 7 Wonders of Nature Nominees

 

 

 

New 7 Natural Wonders of the World

New Seven Wonders of Nature-One of 28 nominees. Winners will be announced in 2011.

 

Dead Sea
Near Qumran, where the original Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the 1940s.
Israel, Jordan,Palestine
New Seven Wonders of Nature
Earth's Natural Wonders in Europe & Middle East
Coordinates-31° 20' 0 N, 35° 30' 0 E
The Dead Sea lies between the hills of Judaea to the west and the Transjordanian plateaus to the east. The Jordan River flows from the north into the Dead Sea, which is 50 miles (80 km) long and attains a width of 11 miles (18 km). Its surface area is about 394 square miles (1,020 square km).
Dead Sea Slide Show
Dead Sea Caves [1]

 

The Dead Sea ("Sea of Salt") is a salt lake in Jordan to the east and in the West Bank and Israel to the west. Its surface and shores are 422 metres (1,385 ft) below sea level,[3] the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface on dry land. The Dead Sea is 378 m (1,240 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world. It is also one of the world's saltiest bodies of water, with 33.7% salinity. Only Lake Assal (Djibouti), Garabogazköl and some hypersaline lakes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Antarctica (such as Don Juan Pond and perhaps Lake Vanda) have a higher salinity. It is 8.6 times as salty as the ocean.[4] This salinity makes for a harsh environment where animals cannot flourish, hence its name. The Dead Sea is 67 kilometres (42 mi) long and 18 kilometres (11 mi) wide at its widest point. It lies in the Jordan Rift Valley, and its main tributary is the Jordan River.

The Dead Sea has attracted visitors from around the Mediterranean basin for thousands of years. Biblically, it was a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world's first health resorts (for Herod the Great), and it has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from balms for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets.

Natural history
There are two contending hypotheses about the origin of the low elevation of the Dead Sea. The older hypothesis 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 hypothesis 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 climate 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.

The first such prehistoric lake is named "Lake Gomorrah." Lake Gomorrah was a freshwater or brackish lake that extended at least 80 km (50 mi) south of the current southern end of the Dead Sea and 100 km (60 mi) north, well above the present Hula Depression. As the climate became more arid, Lake Gomorrah shrank and became saltier. The large, saltwater predecessor of the Dead Sea is called "Lake Lisan."

.
Pebbles cemented with halite on the western shore of the Dead Sea near Ein Gedi.In prehistoric times great amounts of sediment collected on the floor of Lake Gomorrah. The sediment was heavier than the salt deposits and squeezed the salt deposits upwards into what are now the Lisan Peninsula and Mount Sodom (on the southwest side of the lake). Geologists explain the effect in terms of a bucket of mud into which a large flat stone is placed, forcing the mud to creep up the sides of the pail. When the floor of the Dead Sea dropped further due to tectonic forces, the salt mounts of Lisan and Mount Sodom stayed in place as high cliffs. (see salt domes)

From 70 000 to 12 000 years ago the lake level was 100 m (328 ft) to 250 m (820 ft) higher than its current level. This lake, called "Lake Lisan", fluctuated dramatically, rising to its highest level around 26,000 years ago, indicating very wet climate in the Near East. Sometime around 10 000 years ago the lake level dropped dramatically, probably to levels even lower than today. During the last several thousand years the lake has fluctuated approximately 400 m (1,310 ft) with some significant drops and rises. Current theories as to the cause of this dramatic drop in levels rule out volcanic activity, therefore it may have been a seismic event.[2]

In between Israel and Jordan lies the lowest place on earth, otherwise known as the Dead Sea. This body of water has its own unique and spectacular atmosphere. Although its extremely salty waters do not allow for aquatic life to survive, the Dead Sea has been a natural health mecca for thousands of years.

  GlobalNomadsGroup
July 19, 2007

The World Wonders .Com-visit 1,000 world wonders at www.theworldwonders.com

 

 
 
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28 finalists-7 winners will be announced in 2011

 

 

References
 
1. Flickr-Dead Sea- Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 7/25//2009
2. Wikipedia-Dead Sea- retrieved 7/25/2009
 
 
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