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Why is the Dead Sea “Dead”?

Posted on 14 December 2020

Have you ever heard of the Dead Sea? It has quite a curious name, but there’s a good reason behind it! 

The Dead Sea is “dead” because there’s almost no life living in it. That’s right – no fish, no underwater plants, and certainly no sharks or whales! There are a few microscopic organisms living in the Dead Sea though, like microbial fungi and bacteria. 

So, why isn’t there any life in the Dead Sea? It’s too high in salt! The Dead Sea is, on average, around 35% salt, which is roughly 10 times more than other oceans. That percentage can change, though, depending on how deep certain parts of the lake are as well as lots of other factors. 

The reason the Dead Sea is so salty is due to its location in a low-lying desert in the Middle East (between Jordan and the West Bank). Water in this area evaporates much quicker than normal ocean water, meaning lots of salt is left behind. 

The most interesting thing about the Dead Sea is that because it contains so much salt, humans can float in it really easily! The salt causes the water to become very dense, making it difficult to sink.