The Dead Sea is, in a sense, a salt lake with a salt content of about 30%. It contains not only common salt (sodium chloride), but also various other salts, such as potassium and magnesium chloride.
Why is the Dead Sea so salty? Explanation
In the Dead Sea, the salt content is so extraordinarily high because the lake is located in the hot desert climate. This means that much more water evaporates here than is replenished by rain or other rivers. During evaporation, only the pure water vapor escapes, while the minerals and other salts remain in the water and accumulate there.
Also, the Dead Sea has no outlet through which the salts could be washed away. The reason for this is that the Dead Sea is 426 meters lower than sea level. Thus, the salt lake is the lowest point on earth. For almost 80 years, the lake level has been sinking particularly fast, about one meter per year. The reason for this is that most of the water from the main Jordan River is used for irrigation and water supply for the population.
Thus, the salinity also continues to increase. But the Dead Sea did not always have such a high salt content as today. Based on the sediments from the Dead Sea, it could be found out that during the last ice age, about 20,000 years ago, the climate at the Dead Sea was much rainier and cooler.
All of northern Europe was covered by gigantic glaciers. This also allowed much more water to flow into the Dead Sea and at the same time less water to evaporate. At that time the sea level was even 260 meters higher than today.
Why are all seas salty?
Whether it is the Dead Sea or the Pacific Ocean. All seas are salty. The reason is that water breaks down other substances into their chemical components. So when it rains, it dissolves other minerals (lime and salts) from the rocks or soil. These dissolved substances, in turn, are carried by the rivers into the sea.
In addition, there are some volcanoes at the bottom of the sea from which lava, i.e. liquid rock, escapes. This also dissolves salts, which are then found in the seawater.
On earth, water moves in a continuous cycle. As soon as the sun shines on the sea, water evaporates. As a result, the water becomes gaseous, rises and clouds of fresh water are formed. All dissolved substances remain in the sea. This process has been going on for millions of years. For this reason, the salt content of the seas continues to rise.
The Dead Sea, which is actually a huge lake, is located on the border between Jordan and Israel. It is particularly hot here, which means that a lot of water can evaporate. The salt content in the Dead Sea is ten times higher than in the Atlantic Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea, for example. Under these conditions, only some bacteria and algae can survive. That is why the huge salt lake has its name: the „Dead“ Sea.
Danger of too high mineral concentration
The Dead Sea is the most saline body of water in the world. As mentioned above, the mineral concentration is ten times higher than in other seas. However, for the human body this too high concentration can be harmful. For example, if one spends more than half an hour in the Dead Sea, these minerals can act like a poison. Thus, this could even lead to death. People who want to bathe in the Dead Sea should therefore not spend more than 30 minutes in it. In addition, care should be taken not to swallow the water, as it is difficult to digest. In addition, the high salt content can cause skin irritation. After bathing in the Dead Sea, it is essential to take a cold shower to rinse off all the minerals.
Should table salt be replaced by Dead Sea salt?
Sometimes foods taste better than others. This may be primarily due to the particular salt that is used for it. In particular, Dead Sea salt is excellent for baking, preserving and cooking. It is available in either a slightly coarser or finer grain size. If you want to use Dead Sea salt as a substitute for conventional table salt, you should opt for the finer grain of sea salt. In addition, the salt from the Dead Sea still contains many important trace elements as well as minerals that can have a positive effect on the body. If you want to prepare your dishes tasty and healthy at the same time, the Dead Sea salt is a good choice.
Does the Dead Sea salt have healing properties?
Dead Sea salt is especially known for its healing properties. Thus, it not only relieves muscle cramps, back pain or rheumatic complaints; it also has a positive effect on skin diseases. It can be applied, for example, as a cream, bath additive or salt compress to the corresponding areas. Thus, the Dead Sea salt can be used directly on the spot and people can benefit from its positive properties without having to be directly on the spot. For the complete musculoskeletal system it is a real boon, which is not least due to the high calcium and magnesium content.