Although it's called The Dead Sea it is really an enclosed salt lake with no outlet to the open sea. It lies in a deep valley between Israel and Jordan and is over 300 metres deep with steep sides. The valley is called the Jordan Rift Valley which begins far away in the north of Israel and heads towards the Red Sea. The River Jordan is the main river feeding it which passes through the beautiful Sea of Galilee.
The Dead Sea never fills despite the huge amount of water flowing into it as the sun and the dry air cause it to continually evaporate. It can lose about two centimetres of depth each day through evaporation. A result of this constant evaporation is the extremely high levels of salt in the water, allowing no plant or marine life to grow. This is why it's called The Dead Sea. The sea is also very dense and many objects that would normally sink in water simply float on the surface. Even an average human body will not sink or drown in it.
The only living things around The Dead Sea are a few dry bushes and that's only if there has been enough rain to water the roots occasionally. For a long time there has been an ancient tradition that the destroyed cities of Sodom and Gomorrah lie beneath its waters.
The Dead Sea is approximately 50 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide at its widest point and for a long time there were no settlements around the sea. The nearest were a few people living in caves that overlooked it. Now there are several communities and even some hotels and businesses at the southern end with more being added all the time. The cliamte and the high mineral content of The Dead Sea are the main attractions.
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