The Dead Sea is disappearing at an alarming rate, leaving behind thousands of sinkholes that are chipping away at the coastline’s vibrant and touristy atmosphere.
The Dead Sea – which is actually a lake – is known for being almost 10 times as salty as the ocean and for having the lowest elevation on Earth. However, over the last few decades, the shoreline has become known for sinkholes that appear to just pop up out of nowhere.
More than 3,000 sinkholes exist along the banks of the Dead Sea, ABC News reported. And some of these craters dive 80 feet into the ground – the equivalent of about an eight-story building.
Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director at EcoPeace Middle East, told ABC news that “these sinkholes are the direct result of inappropriate mismanagement of water resources in the region.”
The Dead Sea is robbed of 2 billion gallons of water each year because of water diverted from the lake’s main water source – the Jordan River – since the 1960s, according to the American Associate, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Mining of minerals from the Dead Sea has also contributed to the disappearance of the lake’s dense and salty water.
The 2 billion gallons of water translates to a decline in water levels of a meter every year (on average) or a total of 30 meters since 1970, according to research conducted by Duke University.
“With the Dead Sea level dropping so rapidly [a meter a year, on average], these sinkholes are inevitable,” said Mark Wilson, a geology professor at the College of Wooster. [more]