Giant sinkholes appear around drying Dead Sea. Will it be eaten by these massive cavities?
There are now over 3,000 sinkholes around the Dead Sea on the Israeli side. This compares to 40 in 1990, with the first sinkhole appearing in the 1980s.
The Dead Sea is drying up at an incredible rate leaving huge chasms of empty space in its wake. These chasms appear in the form of large, devastating sinkholes and are increasing in number throughout the region. Experts claim they are now forming at a rate of nearly one a day, but have no way of knowing when or how they will show up.
Estimates by Moment magazine suggest that, on the Israeli side alone, there are now over 3,000 sinkholes around the Dead Sea. This compares to just 40 counted in 1990, with the first sinkhole appearing in the 1980s.
An aerial view shows a close up of a salt formation inside a large sinkhole on the shores of the Dead Sea. The increase in sinkholes is directly related to the Dead Sea drying up at a rate of one meter per year.
The increase in sinkholes is directly related to the Dead Sea drying up at a rate of one meter per year. Sinkholes are basically bowl-shaped features that form when an empty space under the ground creates a depression. The depression is the result of a reaction between freshwater and salt buried in a subterranean level beneath the surface. When the freshwater dissolves the salt, it creates a void, causing the landscape around and above it to suddenly collapse.
Over the last few decades, increasing numbers of people have been drawn to the Dead Sea causing its salt water to dry up. This leaves more fresh water in the area to dissolve the salt and create more cavities.
Why is the Dead Sea Drying up?
The Dead Sea spans more than 60 miles through Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. Its water level has fallen from 394 meters below sea level in the 1960s to about423 meters below sea level as of end 2012. As a result, the Sea’s water surface area has been reduced by one third: from roughly 950 square kilometers to 637 square kilometers today. The water level continues to drop at an alarming pace of 0.8 to 1.2 meters per year. The significant decline of the water level over the past 30 years is due to diversion of water from the Jordan River and from the Dead Sea itself due to population increase.