The Death Sea is a great tourist attraction due to its peculiar characteristics. Presents a salt concentration 10 times higher than that of the ocean, what allows you to float in the water more easily, and his black mud, rich in minerals, is used to therapeutic and cosmetic treatments in the tourist centers of the area.
But nevertheless, cannot host plant or animal life. That is why the presence of a dry tree on a salt island close to the beach by Ein Bokek, on the Israeli side. You can walk and has a small natural pool for bathing, which has increased the number of visits thanks to those who want to see the curious plant.
If this tree ‘grows’ in such extreme conditions it is because a local artist planted it there to make the world aware of the rapid disappearance of the saltiest body of water in the world, and the lowest point on Earth. And is that 100 years ago, the Dead Sea had a approximate area of 1,000 square kilometers, while currently only 650 square kilometers remain, as reported National Geographic. This is especially due to climate change and human behavior, that they have constructed dams and have massively extracted its minerals.
The dangerous consequences of this reduction
A team from the German Research Center for Geosciences GFZ, together with colleagues from Hannover, Kiel and Padua, has shown that there is a direct link between the decrease in water table, the evaporation and the sinking earth that explains the reduction in size of the Dead Sea, as explained by the center in a release.
The researchers used a wide range of instruments to show that “the solid ground does it move up and down synchronously with fluctuations in the water surface and groundwater level with a delay of about eight weeks“. However, the trend is clearly downward. They estimate that the water level in the Dead Sea drops about a meter each year, while the land sinks about 15 centimeters annually. “Rain flows in the surrounding mountains and the Jordan River cause short-term increases at lake level. However, water withdrawals from tributaries for agriculture, saline water pumping to extract potassium and evaporation in high temperatures make the balance permanently negative”.
For agriculture, tourism and infrastructure in the region, land subsidence and water loss are very threatening. For example, fresh groundwater flowing downstream causes salts to dissolve in the soil, resulting in sinks. But it also leads to a large-scale sinking of the surrounding land surface.