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Dead Sea

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57745.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:05 am Reply with quote

Q: Can you drown in the Dead Sea?

F: No, because its uniquely high salt content guarantees human buoyancy.

A: Yes, you can. It’s a sea.

Clearly, it’s a pretty rare event - but equally clearly, the idea that “no-one has ever drowned in the Dead Sea” (a phrase which crops up all over the internet) is also a myth. Here are some reports of drownings and near-drownings:,00050004.htm

One blogger records that “I almost drowned in the Dead Sea, because I was told to try and float, and what happened, I could not put down my feet after a short while of floating!!! “

In 2003, an Israeli cabinet minister caused controversy when he said that all Palestinian prisoners should be “drowned in the Dead Sea,” and that, as Transport Minister, he would provide the buses to take them there. (See: I’m not sure - does this suggest that drowning in the Dead Sea would be a slow and difficult death, or that it’s not possible? Or neither?

57778.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:35 pm Reply with quote

For the notes: the Dead Sea is the lowest exposed point on the Earth's surface and part of the Great Rift Valley which goes all the way down to Southern Africa. Its mineral composition is completely different from that in the oceans; overall its concentration of salt is about 31.5%. It constantly spits up small pebbles of asphalt, and after earthquakes chunks as large as houses may be produced. There are no fish or other macroscopic aquatic organisms.

The sea is shrinking rapidly because the Jordan river's flow has been reduced by human activity (irrigation & what-not), so the Israelis are going to build a canal and pump desalinated water in from the Red Sea.

We need to add a brief note on the Dead Sea scrolls, I think.

57815.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:05 pm Reply with quote

What's the difference between a sea and a lake, anyway?

57817.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:07 pm Reply with quote

We also need a better question, since the answer to this one is "Yes, obviously, otherwise you wouldn't have asked."

57822.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:27 pm Reply with quote

The Dead Sea Scrolls comprise 600 documents found in 11 caves between 1947 and 1956, dating from around the time of Christ. They are 1000 years older than any other extant Hebrew text and may include a passage from Mark's gospel; if so this would be the earliest extant New Testament document (dated between AD 30 and 60), but it's far from clear that this is the correct identification, as the only complete word which can be made out in the Greek text is 'kai' ('and').

The scrolls have been a plentiful source of Fortean / conspiracy theory. The idea that they were planted there by aliens has found favour with some, while the conspiracy mob perceive the hand of the Vatican in suppressing the information that Saul of Tarsus didn't really convert to Christianity but was a Roman agent working to subvert anti-Roman cults by mythicising the life of Christ. (This view was propounded by Dr. Robert H. Eisenman, Professor of Middle East Religions and Archaeology and Director of the Institute for the Study of Judeo-Christian Origins at California State University, Long Beach; also Visiting Senior Member of Linacre College, Oxford so not a total whacko, I suppose).

57824.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:30 pm Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
We also need a better question, since the answer to this one is "Yes, obviously, otherwise you wouldn't have asked."

How about:

What's to stop you drowning in the Dead Sea?

Answer: nothing. Aaaaargh!! However, it might work in this case.

I particularly like that the buoyancy is in itself dangerous, in that it prevents you from getting upright in the water.

57829.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:41 pm Reply with quote

Yes, that was my favourite bit. What that says about us, I'd rather not know.

67135.  Mon Apr 24, 2006 9:43 pm Reply with quote

For nearly 2,000 years, the contour and coastline of the Dead Sea remained virtually unchanged from the days when the famous Dead Sea scrolls were stashed in nearby cave. But in the last 50 years, since the great diversions upstream to irrigate a growing economy, the river flow that fed the lake has decreased to 8 percent of its former pour. The Dead Sea is dropping about a yard a year, and its surface area is just a third of what it once was. The Global Nature Fund has declared the Dead Sea "Threatened Lake of the Year" for 2006.

more at

gerontius grumpus
159599.  Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:44 am Reply with quote

Q. Have you got the Dead Sea scrolls?

A. No I always walk like that.

175063.  Wed May 16, 2007 11:51 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
What's the difference between a sea and a lake, anyway?

A sea is salt water, I would think. Waits for klaxon.

175077.  Wed May 16, 2007 12:30 pm Reply with quote

I'm not sure if it needs to be as complicated as that.

I reckon a lake is a body of water surrounded by land. Some lakes are salty (the Caspian Sea and Dead Sea, for instance, are both salty and are both in fact lakes). No seas are freshwater, but some are less salty than others (I believe that the Black Sea is relatively unsalty).

Oh, and welcome to the forums eyeqew. Another of my lot!!

175078.  Wed May 16, 2007 12:33 pm Reply with quote

Why are the Caspian and the Dead called seas if they are, in fact, lakes?

Oh, and welcome to you eyeqew :)

371692.  Tue Jul 01, 2008 5:03 am Reply with quote

the Dead Sea is called though because purportedly there is no life there but as a matter of fact, there are several indigenous bacteria and once there was even a sighting of some sort of fish (though knowing what goes on there it was probably a highly salted clementina)

If you shave your legs or something before you go into the Dead Sea you will know pain unsurpassable, and if it gets into your eyes you're screwed. luckily, there are fresh water fountains installed in the middle of some of the tourist swim areas

the dead sea can dehydrate you because of the salinity

the dead sea mud is one of the most highly commercial natural resources/cosmetics in israel because of its healing propensities

if you stay in too long you'll die--Fishfool

375015.  Sun Jul 06, 2008 4:26 pm Reply with quote

The well named Flash said 'one cannot get upright in the dead sea' . This must be true, mine shrivels in the local swimming pool....

Sadurian Mike
375060.  Sun Jul 06, 2008 5:25 pm Reply with quote

Beaglefish wrote:
The well named Flash said 'one cannot get upright in the dead sea' . This must be true, mine shrivels in the local swimming pool....

That's just naughty.

I wish I'd thought of it.


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