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Inland sea located at the lowest point on earth. It is 47 miles long by 9.5 miles wide, in the deepest pit of the Jordan depression, fed by the Jordan and Arnon rivers. Compressed between the mountains of Moab in the east and the Judean hills in the west, the Dead Sea was the stage for the tragic biblical drama of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction for their sins. Its historic character is reflected in its numerous names: in Hebrew, the Salt Sea, in Arabic, the Sea of Lot; and to Josephus Flavius, the Asphalt Sea. The Greeks, who called it the Dead Sea, believed that nothing could live in it, though microscopic life has recently been discovered in its silt. Its waters are so heavy that they hold the human body buoyant. The first attempt to tap the treasures of this “fluid mine” was made before World War II, when two plants were set up at northern and southern ends. The northern plant was destroyed by the Arabs in 1948, but the second at Sodom has been restored by Israel for the exploitation of its millions of tons of salt, potash, bromides, and other minerals. A winter health resort and hotels are located on the coast. In the last few decades, due to the diversion of its natural water sources for civilian use, the Dead Sea has been shrinking. Many possibilities have been studied of diverting water back into the Dead Sea, but more and more it seems in danger of disappearing in the not-too-distant future.

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