Have you ever wondered why the dead sea is called the dead sea? This article will explore all the mysteries and facts of this amazing natural wonder. 

The dead sea is located between Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. It is supplied by the Jordan River, which is located in Israel. And in addition to being fabulous, it also offers countless benefits for the human being.

It is worth noting that the Dead Sea area is 650 square kilometers. It is also considered the most significant absolute depression in the continental regions of the planet. After all, it has an altitude of 471 meters below sea level.

Table of Contents

Formation of Dead Sea

The formation of the Dead Sea is related to the existence of a geological fault between the African tectonic plate and the Arabian plate. The movement between these plates is of the transforming type; they slide laterally with each other. 

Due to tectonic interactions in the region, this large opening was formed in the Earth’s crust, now known as the Earth’s most significant absolute depression.

Researchers and scientists have noted that the Dead Sea faces evident changes in its extent. Intense water evaporation has been taking place, leaving only the salt exposed where the lake used to be. 

It shows that despite being an environment considered “dead,” the region suffers from large-scale natural dynamics.

Features of Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is an extraordinary and mystical place on our planet. Its valuable properties are so impressive that magical properties were attributed to it by historical figures such as Herod the Great, Cleopatra, and Aristotle. 

In ancient times, the plants that grew in the area of the Dead Sea were used to make medicines and were also used for cosmetic purposes.

Its area is 1020 km², 82 km long, 18 km wide, and has a maximum depth of 377 meters. Its other features are:

1. Salt Composition

comparison of minerals on various saltwater masses
Comparison of mineral abundancy of ocean water, Mediterranean water, and dead sea water| Table by Salt caves

It has a large amount of salt in its composition. This amount is so large that it practically makes life impossible. 

Studies estimate that there are about 300 grams of salt for every liter of water in this lake. The oceans have a concentration of 35 grams of salt for every liter of this same liquid.

2. Sun

The Dead Sea is located 470 meters below sea level and is the lowest point on Earth. Because of this, a very thick air layer is formed over the sea. It acts as a filter for vapors and minerals entering the air from the Earth’s surface.

At the same time, it reflects harmful ultraviolet radiation and passes soft rays that are useful for humans. Therefore, sun lovers should relax at the Dead Sea. 

Even after lying in the sun all day, you will not get burned. It is also impossible to drown in the sea, and it simply pushes the body out due to its high density.

3. Unique Water

Water is unique in the Dead Sea, which can hardly be called water. It contains all the chemical elements of the periodic table.

Therefore, getting into it, a person receives many nutrients that benefit his health. Mineral substances in large quantities come from hot springs that flow into the sea. 

There are twenty-one minerals in water, mud, and salt, of which twelve are unique. They help to smooth human skin and reduce metabolic disorders. 

Many sources come from sulfur, which is used for sulfur baths. Such baths improve blood circulation and help oxygen penetrate more actively into the human body.

4. Therapeutic Mud

The therapeutic mud of the Dead Sea has a stronger concentration and effect compared to other resorts in the world. 

They positively affect the human body, providing an anti-inflammatory effect and stabilizing hormones. The only bacteria producing dead Sea mud on Earth are present in this climate, so it is unique.

At the same time, the healing properties of mud show their properties better in the place where they are produced because the body in the complex is affected by the peculiarities of the local climate and the substances present here.

5. People Floats

person floating on the dead sea due to high salt concentration
A floating person reading books on a dead sea| Photo by Toa Heftiba

A large amount of salt in its composition makes it very dense, preventing people from sinking when entering its waters. 

Furthermore, it also facilitates the formation of crystals on the lake surface. These characteristics are responsible for attracting countless tourists to the Dead Sea region.

6. Natural Inhaler

Since the atmosphere of the lake has a minimum content of allergens and an increased content of oxygen, it can act as a natural inhaler. 

Combined with water and mud, this can cure many diseases—for example, skin pathologies: various eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo. 

In addition, diseases associated with the musculoskeletal system, neuroses, and fatigue are successfully treated here. 

It is valid for residents of modern metropolitan areas, who mainly lead a sedentary lifestyle. Often people come to the resorts for health improvement with the whole family.

7. Spirituality

The area around the Dead Sea also has spiritual significance for Jews and Christians. 

This region is considered the Holy Land where God provided his Ten Commandments to Moses, where Job suffered and was awarded for his faith, where John baptized Jesus, and where Jacob wrestled with God’s angel.

8. Cosmetic Property

The herbs that grow in this area have unique cosmetic properties. Back in the days of Cleopatra, they were used as ingredients in the manufacture of cosmetics. 

It is especially true of Balsam wood. Nowadays, many cosmetics are created based on minerals available in these places. This eco-friendly product does not contain allergens and is suitable for the most sensitive skin. 

Dead Sea Name

beautiful landscape of dead sea
Beautiful landscape of dead sea| Photo by Dave Herring

In the Bible (Tanakh), this lake was also called the sea, but it was never called “Dead.” It was either the “Desert Sea” ( yam ha-Melaḥ ) or the “Eastern” sea ( yam ha-Mizrahi ).

The Arabs called the lake the al-Bahr al-Mait. Sometimes (much less often), it can be called the Bahr Lut by the name of a biblical character.

But the Greek name differs from the Middle East; in Greek, the sea is called “Asphalt” (Talatta Asphaltites). 

There are indeed several deposits of natural asphalt on the shores of the lake, a valuable product since ancient times, used, in particular, in the embalming of mummies in Ancient Egypt.

The Dead Sea as the Dead Sea

It acquired its name “Dead Sea” in the 2nd century AD thanks to Pausanias, the ancient Greek scientist who studied these waters. The amount of salt is not intended for living organisms in it.

It is composed of high salinity levels, making its water very dense and suitable for accumulating sodium chloride, potassium, magnesium chloride, bromine, magnesium oxide, and hydrochloric acid. 

While the oceans have about 30 to 35 grams of salt for every liter of water, the Dead Sea has 300 grams. This phenomenon is what prevents the survival of any species.

The concentration of salts results from the chemical and geographic formation process of the Jordan River. 

This hydrographic basin, which flows into the lake, does not allow its flow to other rivers or seas, drying up before reaching the coast. 

As the region is scorching and dry, evaporation ends up being intense, surpassing the water supply, which causes a significant increase of salts in its tributaries. 

Another factor contributing to the Dead Sea’s characteristics is the lack of rain. It is estimated that only 150 millimeters reach the north and south sides of the Asphaltite during the year, making the entire area desert. 

Scarce rainfall, high temperatures, and low rates of air humidity are the main hallmarks of the climate, defined as subtropical and semi-arid. 

On the other hand, the relief is of absolute depression – lowered terrain compared to adjacent portions and altitude below sea level. 

The particular climate and high salinity make the sea a sterile environment. The presence of salt in the water and surroundings blocks the development of vegetation and fish survival. Since no living organisms can survive in this brutal environment, the lake is called the dead sea.

Dead Sea Not Dead After All

Dead sea island with thee plant| Photo by Konstantin Tretyak

The Dead Sea is not “dead” because there is life in it, according to discoveries from the 1990s. 

But life, in this case, boils down to a bacterium that can survive in this environment, Haloarcula marismortui. In addition to another type of bacterium and a species of seaweed. 

So, technically, there is life in the Dead Sea, although almost every species on the planet cannot survive its unfavorable environment.


However, a mystical dead sea is drying up significantly every year, up to 1.5 meters per year. Due to the drought, heat, and sluggishness of the responsible structures, the Dead Sea is drying up faster and faster, and scientists have described it as a “natural disaster in a slowdown.”

The once-mighty Jordan River, which flows into the Dead Sea, struggles with similar problems. The shores of the Dead Sea are a desert, cracked land once covered in water. In places, holes formed in the ground.

Rich with ancient history, the dead sea is awaiting the proper action to preserve its existence. The Mississippi River is another water mass with immense history and utility like the dead sea. Check out our article on how long it takes water to travel through the Mississippi River.

(Last Updated on January 20, 2022 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Ankur Pradhan holds a bachelor’s degree in education and health and three years of content writing experience. Addicted to online creative writing, she puts some of what she feels inside her stormy heart on paper. She loves nature, so she is trying to motivate people to switch to alternative energy sources through her articles.