The Dead Sea, from the Arabic 'Yam ha-Melah' meaning 'Sea of Salt') is a large salt lake located in the Middle East between Israel, Jordan and the West Bank of the Judean Desert in Palestine.

It is located in the deepest depression of the Earth, generated over the millennia due to the evaporation of its waters not compensated by those of tributaries, which is also the cause of its high salinity.  Currently, the upper basin's water level (northern) is about 415 m below sea level. The gap continues to increase as the level continues to fall, posing its disappearance in the medium to long term.

Anciently called in the Hellenistic period lake Asfaltide, the lake of the asphalt because of the density of its waters and the phenomena of the detachment of such material from its depths. The Bible, in the Pentateuch, mentions it instead as Salty Sea or Sea of the Desert.


Located about 394 meters below the Mediterranean Sea, the Mare Magnum is a closed sea that has as tributaries the waters of the Jordan River, the river uadi Mujib, and other minor important waterways without having any emissary, resulting in an endorheic basin. Divided into two distinct basins, the upper one of great depth, while the lower one has never exceeded the maximum depth of 2 meters, the latter is now almost dried up, kept alive only by a channel dug specifically through the watershed.

Salty Waters

Its main feature is that the water is very salty due to strong evaporation, and this does not allow life forms except for some types of bacteria, hence the name Dead Sea. Lately, its average salinity gradient exceeded that of the Oceans by 23%.

Its waters were known since Roman times and are still exploited today, for their curative qualities, especially for skin diseases: the low level of UV rays and the high level of oxygen are excellent for health, the high concentration of minerals, including calcium and magnesium, which are useful remedies against allergies and respiratory tract infections, bromine that facilitates relaxation, iodine that has beneficial effects on glandular dysfunction and mud for skincare. Its waters are currently used to produce potassium chloride by Israeli and Jordanian companies; bromine and magnesium are also extracted. The sea is rich: the extraction is done starting from the salt pans, visible from space in the Dead Sea's southern end.