Massive Sinkholes Found As The Dead Sea Evaporates

The Dead Sea is known to be completely uninhabitable, hence its name. The amount of salinity in the water virtually inhibits anything from growing or surviving its harsh environment. Now, a recent discovery by a group of environmentalists have more shed light on the body of water, after very large sinkholes were found along its banks.

There is a vast number of these sinkholes, currently over 2,500 and the main cause for them is believed to be the water mismanagement that has been occurring over time in the various lakes that are nearby. While the Dead Sea has been consistently maintaining the same water level for many years, the water is now evaporating at an ever-increasingly fast rate. To date, approximately 4 feet per year for the last several years in a row has evaporated out of this saline lake. Due to this evaporation, the large sinkholes are now visible and are very surprising to the researchers.

Sinkholes can be very dangerous as they can pose threats to people and animals that go near them. They have been referred to by some as “nature’s revenge.” The environmentalists that have been working on this issue are dedicated to preserving their land’s heritage, including the Dead Sea.

The very first sinkhole that was recorded appeared in the 1980s. Around that time, sinkholes were rare, but due to the rapidly decreasing level of water in the lake over recent years, sinkholes are now appearing at an extremely fast rate, and can take anywhere from days to months to form. Specifically, a main concern regards the recent construction of dams, pipelines and reservoirs, which have aided in the evaporation of the lake. The evaporation leaves behind large salt pockets, which are then washed away by the remaining water, resulting in a huge sinkhole.

The majority of the sinkholes have taken shape from 2005 to 2015. In 2005, only 1,000 sinkholes were reported, according to a study done for the Smithsonian. Within a decade, however, 1,500 more sinkholes have been discovered.

The main concern with this recent increase in sinkholes is that it will cause the nearby road, Route 90, to collapse. Unless something is done soon, injuries and deaths could occur in the not too distant future. As such, according to a report from Israel’s Transportation Ministry, this stretch of highway will be closed until a solution can be found. At the moment, the only known solution for this problem is to stop the current practices that are causing the fast rate of evaporation. There are currently workers that are removing the salt from the lake in the hopes of slowing down the process.