Dead Sea Sinkhole: Careful! Don't lean over too far!Courtesy HoshanaSound crazy? Well it could happen. Luckily recent victims of these amazing geological features have been rescued. Massive sinkholes along the Dead Sea shoreline are merely the most recent problem in a long list of human caused environmental issues associated with the Dead Sea. Scientists continue to warn that the Dead Sea is disappearing at an alarming rate, having shrunk by one third in the last few decades. In fact it could be completely dried up in less than 50 years. The water level is dropping approximately 3 feet a year due to massive irrigation in the surrounding countries of Israel, Jordan and Palestine, which are part of the most water-stressed region in the world. Increasing populations, development and massive irrigation all affect the limited freshwater resources. The Jordan River, which used to be the main contributor of freshwater to the Dead Sea, has now been reduced to a small channel due to diversion of water for agricultural irrigation. Scientist are struggling to find ways to reduce these impacts on the Dead Sea, including the possibility of opening a canal from the Red Sea (however this has its own ecological problems).
Over 3000 sinkholes have appeared along the banks of the Dead Sea, and several thousand more are estimated to burst open soon, catching residents, tourists and livestock completely by surprise. As the water levels recede, the fragile, salty, subterranean layer of soil bordering the sea is dissolved by underground aquifers and infiltrating surface water, producing underground caves that collapse and cause massive sinkholes that suddenly appear, swallowing everything above.
Dead Sea Evaporation Ponds: Changes in the Dead Sea from 1989 to 2001. Evaporation ponds located in the southern third of the sea.Courtesy NASA
Along with irrigation impacts, both Israel and Jordan also purposefully evaporate water from the Dead Sea in order to mine the phosphate salts for use in a variety of agricultural, chemical, and personal products. Both countries have also built hotels and resorts along the shore that use massive quantities of water for the thousands of tourists who come to the Dead Sea for its therapeutic value and other unique properties.
The Dead Sea is yet another unique body of water that will soon be lost, like the Aral Sea of central Asia, as a result of unchecked human development and poor governmental policy decisions. Will we never learn our lessons?
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Your rating: None Average: 3.9 (43 votes)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

wow thats pretty scary i mean that sounds almost fake. but thats really sad how the dead sea drops 3 ft every year!

posted on Fri, 03/12/2010 - 2:10pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i know it sounds like a sci-fi movie, people just getting sucked into sink holes!

posted on Wed, 06/23/2010 - 12:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

thats scary!

posted on Fri, 07/23/2010 - 12:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is creepy!

posted on Sun, 10/24/2010 - 2:02pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

when my brother saw the picture of the sinkhole he said"woah" yea it is woah!:)

posted on Fri, 03/12/2010 - 2:12pm
Ginger's picture
Ginger says:

This is awesome!!! I have learned alot and I like it!!! I just can't stand the thought of the way they live, a very hard life.

posted on Mon, 03/15/2010 - 6:26pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

This is not awesome but yet very sad how someone could just be jogging to discover that he was swallowed in a sink hole

posted on Fri, 03/19/2010 - 11:53am
michaela's picture
michaela says:

wow! this is very interesting how the dead sea is now drying up. how sad!

posted on Tue, 03/16/2010 - 3:20pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

That is soooo cool i think!! Like its kinda sad that ppl get swallowed up but its like something out of a movie. its the shizz yo!

posted on Tue, 03/16/2010 - 6:57pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

weird and sad.

posted on Fri, 03/19/2010 - 9:58am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Thats the biggest and deepest sinkhole ive ever seen!!!!!! OMG

posted on Fri, 03/19/2010 - 11:13am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

it's looks so scary

posted on Wed, 08/18/2010 - 6:42pm
m. e. w.'s picture
m. e. w. says:

before i read this, i had no idea sinkholes acually existed.i thought authors made them up for stories. that is totally amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Fri, 03/19/2010 - 2:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

haha ya me too. i never really thought they were real either :)

posted on Sun, 05/16/2010 - 2:29pm
bigbang's picture
bigbang says:

dude i think that thats cool but sad also. but i also think it's very interesting.

posted on Sat, 03/20/2010 - 5:52pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Id b one to lean over to far lol :P

posted on Sun, 03/21/2010 - 3:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

COOL!But sad

posted on Fri, 03/26/2010 - 1:56pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I wonder if that could happen any where else

posted on Sun, 05/30/2010 - 4:30pm
me as... me!'s picture
me as... me! says:

really scary! i would stay away from the dead sea if i were a tourist!

posted on Fri, 03/26/2010 - 2:02pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Actually, swimming in the dead sea is very safe. there are no living organismisms in the dead sea.... duh!

posted on Sat, 03/27/2010 - 1:12pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

if your swimming in it your a living organism

posted on Thu, 07/22/2010 - 1:25pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

it is very surprising that no one has been killed by walking into this deep sinkholes. When someone does, this will receive much more attention

posted on Sat, 03/27/2010 - 1:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I heard that it's full of salt and stuff and i don't think i would go to that :( :) The dead sea scrolls sound really neat though!

posted on Sat, 03/27/2010 - 3:36pm
ScienceGuy's picture
ScienceGuy says:

How deep are the sinkholes? How do you rescue some guy from something like that? Creepy.

posted on Sun, 03/28/2010 - 11:22am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is so unfortunate. the dead sea is famous for what is stands for and for the discoveries that have ahppened around it. this sea is the saltiest, 8 times more salty than an average ocean and for it to disseappear is for hisotry to disseappear. it is extremely unfortunate what happened to the boy and what is happening to the dead sea.

posted on Tue, 03/30/2010 - 5:07pm
chris327's picture
chris327 says:

wow... that guy in the picture shure is askin' to be "swallowed", the way he's leanin' over that HUGE hole... how intelligent... :b

posted on Wed, 03/31/2010 - 12:47pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

its sad hoe the sea is drying up and those holes are creepy

posted on Sat, 04/03/2010 - 11:46am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

we need to take more care of our enviornment!!!!

posted on Wed, 04/07/2010 - 4:34pm
Nara nara's picture
Nara nara says:

I didn't think sink holes were real til I saw this! LOL X3 but it's also sad

posted on Thu, 04/08/2010 - 9:51am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that looks so scary! I would not want to do that.

posted on Fri, 04/09/2010 - 12:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

That's just sad how he sea is drying up. :( boo hoo. The sink hole looks scary...

posted on Fri, 04/09/2010 - 1:20pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Sat, 04/10/2010 - 1:52pm
Me.'s picture
Me. says:

well thats pretty sweet, but a bummer :P

posted on Sat, 04/10/2010 - 1:54pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Bummer. . . .

posted on Wed, 04/14/2010 - 5:21pm
Christian DeMars's picture
Christian DeMars says:

How can anyone fall into that sinkhole? I mean it's common sense! stay away from big holes in the ground.

posted on Fri, 04/16/2010 - 6:35pm
Christian DeMars's picture
Christian DeMars says:

How can anyone fall into a hole that big? I mean stay away from big holes!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Fri, 04/16/2010 - 6:36pm
nathans's picture
nathans says:

yea how can u fall in a huge hole thers some ying u see thats big and its deep and its in the ground hello its called geting smart for once

posted on Sat, 07/17/2010 - 4:10pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I would be scared to go there

posted on Sun, 04/18/2010 - 1:18pm
190halo's picture
190halo says:

yes...just lean over the big hole...

posted on Mon, 04/19/2010 - 7:34pm
190halo's picture
190halo says:


posted on Mon, 04/19/2010 - 7:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

omg that is so scary i have never heard of that

posted on Sat, 05/01/2010 - 10:43am
Yermi Brenner's picture

The Dead Sea is an ecological treasure.I have visited there many times as a tourist, and most recently as a journalist. The situation is very bad: http://www.vjmovement.com/truth/227

posted on Tue, 05/04/2010 - 5:46am
Greg Laden's picture
Greg Laden says:

Very interesting story. The dead sea is basically a lake at the bottom of a rift valley, like the rift valleys in East and Central Africa. (Just thought I'd mention that because no one seems to have brought it up yet.0

posted on Wed, 05/19/2010 - 7:02pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

That is amazing!

posted on Thu, 05/20/2010 - 10:18am
ronin's picture
ronin says:

No one actually died

posted on Fri, 05/21/2010 - 11:02am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this was kind of interesting
I was surpised that there were sinkholes by the Dead Sea. It was cool !

posted on Thu, 05/27/2010 - 9:16am
Todd's picture
Todd says:

This sounds similar to what is happening in the south west U.S. with the massive water diversion and consumption devastating the colorado and other water resources.

posted on Thu, 05/27/2010 - 5:23pm
Josh $'s picture
Josh $ says:

Can anyone spell "freak accident" ?? =P That's just as probable as dying from lightning...

posted on Fri, 05/28/2010 - 3:52pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Wow, all I can say. Wow. Haha. Pretty sad. I always thought it would be sweet to float in the Dead Sea...but those sinkholes kinda put me off. Haha. (:

posted on Fri, 05/28/2010 - 4:01pm
What is a Sinkhole's picture

this is so unfortunate. the dead sea is famous for what is stands for and for the discoveries that have ahppened around it.

posted on Thu, 06/03/2010 - 6:10am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Tht iz the weirdest thing ihave ever herd of beside tht kind of thimg better not happen aroumd here caus tht would b terrifying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Sun, 06/06/2010 - 4:27pm
Rick Ross's picture
Rick Ross says:

The other day I was running and I stepped into a snake hole and I thought that the same thing happened to me... But luckily I made it out ok. I got a grass stain on my knee but I will be ok.

posted on Mon, 06/07/2010 - 1:34pm
chrisb's picture
chrisb says:

wow, that is really sad, what is happening to the Dead Sea. yes, human beings are idiotic, unwise morons when it comes to learing from our own ecological disasters...which is why we are doing nothing to slow the shortage of water losses all over the world. how unfortunate that humans will not realize this until it is far too late.

posted on Wed, 06/09/2010 - 1:26pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i think its amazing that this land has held so many wonders and the fact that giant holes suddenly appear in the ground is a great mystery and very tragic to anyone who falls in but this just shows you that you should be very careful

posted on Sun, 06/20/2010 - 7:34pm
joshua's picture
joshua says:

that guy is crazy for leaning over soo far :)

posted on Thu, 06/24/2010 - 5:55pm
tony steve's picture
tony steve says:

sinkholes are awsome.

posted on Sat, 06/26/2010 - 9:21am
Amelia's picture
Amelia says:

Hi, I'm posting to this thread to find Science Buzz users who would like to contribute to my dissertation research about Science Buzz. I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of American Studies at the University of Maryland.

Your help would consist of taking a brief survey (approximately 10-20 minutes to complete, depending on the length of answers). To proceed to the survey, please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GLZMRN8.

Thank you very much for your interest and time. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at [email protected].

posted on Sat, 06/26/2010 - 10:08am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Stay away from big holes!!

posted on Sun, 06/27/2010 - 11:27am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that is really sad that someone can lose their life out of curiousity like that.

posted on Sun, 06/27/2010 - 3:28pm
???????'s picture
??????? says:

this is not a hard problem to solve scientists are just a bunch of media pigs desperate for attention so people feel sympathetic towards their cause the logical thing to do in this situation is to set up a water pump that constantly puts in new water so we are less dependant on the water coming from jordan etc....

posted on Mon, 06/28/2010 - 1:03pm
Alex says RAWR's picture
Alex says RAWR says:

this article s pretty cool. however it is sad. lakes and rivers are all drying up all over the world because of mass production and irrigation. hopfully in the next few yrs people will find better ways of using reasources so they dont dry up or disappear.

posted on Thu, 07/01/2010 - 12:40pm
Spaceboy's picture
Spaceboy says:


posted on Sun, 07/04/2010 - 12:51pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Does "making the desert bloom" mean the Israliets need to raise crops that require so much water? Why not conserve? Grow less water dependant crops.

posted on Sun, 07/04/2010 - 3:18pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i wonder what happens to the person if they fall into the huge hole? what if they are by themselves!

posted on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 2:17pm
spencer tom butthead the 3rd's picture
spencer tom butthead the 3rd says:

very interesting but i can understand how it happens how that soil gives away peace im out

posted on Sat, 07/10/2010 - 3:45pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

thats really scary! the sinkhole is huge, it kind of scares me. :P

posted on Sat, 07/10/2010 - 6:12pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

old testament scripture is being fulfilled. the salt water will disapear, when the basin is empty you will see fresh water come and fish will be living in it.

posted on Tue, 07/13/2010 - 1:17pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

This is sort of like that huge sinkhole in Uruguay or something that swallowed a building.

posted on Wed, 07/14/2010 - 7:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that is fake there's no way someone could just fall i...AAAAAAAaaaaaaaaahhhhh...

posted on Sun, 07/18/2010 - 10:49am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

omg thats scary!!!! (shiver)

posted on Mon, 07/19/2010 - 1:37pm
dal embick's picture
dal embick says:

this is really crazy!!!i hope like this nevr happenz iin america :'(

posted on Mon, 08/09/2010 - 12:26pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I hope that scientist can help out with this big issue and prevent it from happening anywhere else!!

posted on Mon, 08/09/2010 - 12:30pm
8/19/10's picture
8/19/10 says:

omygosh!!!that would be creepy to watch someone fall into one of those sink holes!!!! i wouldn't want that to happen to me or to someone that i knew. how big are they anyway, the look GIANT!!!!!!!!

posted on Thu, 08/19/2010 - 9:23am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

that is really sad becuase the dead sea is sweet and if it dries up a piece of history will be lost along with toursm haha

posted on Mon, 08/23/2010 - 12:49pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

it is not human caused!

posted on Tue, 08/24/2010 - 10:01am
prkr's picture
prkr says:

2 bad for him. where did he fall

posted on Tue, 08/24/2010 - 10:37am
Sierra514's picture
Sierra514 says:

I'm glad that they were able to rescue the guy and I think it's sad that the dead sea is drying up!

posted on Sun, 09/05/2010 - 3:56pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

y would the let people tour this place if it isn't safe?

posted on Sat, 09/25/2010 - 12:03pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I tink it is very cruel for humans to just destroy rivers like that

posted on Sat, 10/02/2010 - 4:56pm
Anonymous people 's picture
Anonymous people says:

Wow, that is amazing and scary at the same time! It's especially crazy that at the time a cave would collapse then and there.

posted on Sat, 10/09/2010 - 12:53pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

...and I thought the sinkholes were bad in Woodbury!!!

posted on Sun, 10/10/2010 - 11:50am
Jacob's picture
Jacob says:

That was an awsome vidio!

posted on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:46am
tony's picture
tony says:

i thought it was crazy, i sould not wantto get stuck in a sinkhole

posted on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 12:10pm
Tav's picture
Tav says:

The Aral sea never heard of it. How did it dissapear?

posted on Sun, 10/24/2010 - 11:53am

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