Giant sinkholes appear around drying Dead Sea. Will it be ‘eaten’ by those massive craters?
There are now over 6,000 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 enormous craters appear in the form of large, devastating sinkholes – some as deep as eight-story buildings – 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.
On the Israeli side alone, more than 6,000 sinkholes exist along the banks of the Dead Sea. This compares to just 40 counted in 1990, with the first sinkhole appearing in the 1980s.
Some of these craters dive 80 feet into the ground – the equivalent of about an eight-story building.
With salinity levels ten times that of the Atlantic Ocean, the Dead Sea is evaporating at a rate of nearly four feet per year and large salt pockets are left behind as the water recedes.
As ground water dissolves the salt, washing it back into the Dead Sea, empty cavities develop creating massive sinkholes.
Some sinkholes form over time, while others appear overnight. An earthquake or even heavy rain can cause a sinkhole to collapse into the drained voids in the subsurface.
These craters, abundant on the western side of the Dead Sea (near Ein Gedi, Israel), stem from a severe water shortage, magnified in recent years by the reduction in the amount of water flowing in the Sea’s main tributary, the Jordan River.
The Dead Sea’s water level has declined over 80 ft (25 m) from 1939 to 1999. It’s now shrunk by about one-third of its mid-1960s volume.
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 about 423 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.