The surface and shores of the Dead Sea are 1,388 ft below sea level, making it literally the lowest point on Earth
“All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.” Genesis 14:3 (KJV)
Roads, caravans and power lines are being swallowed up by giant sinkholes appearing at a rapid rate because the Dead Sea is shrinking from Israeli shores in a man-made phenomenon. Hundreds of sinkholes, some the size of a basketball court and some two storeys deep, are wreaking havoc by devouring land where the shoreline once stood.
A neglected grove of date palms line a section of a two-lane desert road – a main north-south artery that cuts through Israel and the Palestinian West Bank – that was shut down six months ago when a gaping hole opened up beneath the asphalt.
Workers had stopped tending the date grove, fearing the earth might swallow them up. Once a rarity, hundreds of new sinkholes are appearing every year, and the rate is expected to rise.
Officials have not come up with a figure for the extent of the damage, but power lines have been downed and caravans and bungalows swallowed. On at least one occasion, hikers were injured falling into one of the pits.
Dov Litvinoff, mayor of the Tamar region that covers the southern half of the Dead Sea in Israel, said: ‘It’s not a problem we can handle alone.’
The main reason the sea is shrinking is because its natural water sources, which flow south through the Jordan river valley from Syria and Lebanon, have been diverted for farming and drinking water along the way.
Mining operations account for the remaining 30 per cent of the deterioration, according to Israel’s parliamentary research group.
Relocating infrastructure is a temporary solution, the mayor said. source