Does the Dead Sea sound like the kind of place you'd like to go swimming? What do you think you'd you see in those waters? Do you believe there are actually dead things in the Dead Sea? Would you see skeletons and lifeless fish floating around you? Maybe big, bad sharks and giant squid would be hunting for prey to chomp on. Maybe that prey would be you!
The Dead Sea lies between Jordan and Israel in the part of southwest Asia commonly referred to as the Middle East. It can be found between steep, rocky cliffs that are 2,500 to 4,000 feet high.
Situated along the coast of Israel, the Dead Sea stretches for over 40 miles. At its widest point, the Dead Sea is about 11 miles wide. At its deepest point, it is about 1,240 feet deep.
That's pretty deep, especially when you realize that the lowest parts of the Dead Sea's shores lie almost 1,400 feet below sea level themselves. That makes the shores of the Dead Sea the world's lowest point below sea level!
Although its name implies otherwise, the Dead Sea isn't actually a sea at all. It's really a lake. In fact, it's a hypersaline lake, which means it's a landlocked body of water with a high concentration of sodium chloride and other mineral salts.
How high? How about nine times saltier than the ocean? That's pretty salty! With a salinity of over 31 percent, the Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world.
The Dead Sea stays so salty because of a unique combination of circumstances. It gets only a little bit of rain each year, and very little fresh water flows into the Dead Sea. The hot climate of the area surrounding the Dead Sea means what little fresh water gets to the Dead Sea evaporates quickly. This ensures that the Dead Sea stays very salty.
If you went swimming in the Dead Sea, you wouldn't see any skeletons or lifeless fish floating on its surface. You also wouldn't see any big, bad sharks or giant squid hunting in its depths. In fact, you wouldn't see any sea life at all—plants or animals!
The Dead Sea is so salty that nothing can live in it. That's why it's called the Dead Sea! If you're in the area, though, you might also hear it referred to by another name, such as the Salt Sea, the East Sea, or the Sea of the Plain.
Don't let the name or lack of sea life scare you, though. You won't die if you go swimming in the Dead Sea. In fact, many people visit the Dead Sea each year on vacation, because it's an awesome place to visit.
If you walk the beach along the shore of the Dead Sea on a warm day, you're likely to see many people floating in its waters. You might even see many of them reading books or magazines!
Because of its high salinity, the Dead Sea's waters are denser than ocean water or the regular water you'd find in a swimming pool. That means that anyone can float in the Dead Sea without using any kind of personal flotation device. People float so well that it's even easy to read a magazine or a book while you're floating in the Dead Sea's waters!