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Jun 22, 2023

Tiyulim in Eretz Yisrael: Dead Sea Salt Pillars

We recently joined a tour led by Noam Bedein of the Dead Sea Revival Project to learn about the situation of the Dead Sea drying up. We got to see firsthand sights we have never seen before except in professional pictures.

The Dead Sea is drying up. He says 600 Olympic pools worth of water disappear from the Dead Sea daily, without being replenished. The Dead Sea factories are one of the causes, but they are the minor players. The Jordan River no longer dumps into the Dead Sea in any significant way due to farmers (on both sides of the border) diverting the water for their own use, along with other problems. The northern section of the Dead Sea is closed off to the public due to dangers such as sinkholes, caused by the underground fresh water springs combined with the erosion of the area.

We went at sunrise (it gets too got to start any later). The group was not large, but it did include a German tv crew filming different interesting sites in Israel for some show they are working on to be shown in Germany. They normally film in Europe but in honor of Israel's 75th birthday/anniversary they have been shooting sites in Israel this year.

We met at Ovnat Junction and traveled to a site just a few minutes further south and hiked to the Dead Sea from the parking area. We were able to see tracks of wildlife in the sand and muddier areas while we hiked towards the sinkholes and sea.

The trip was fascinating. If you have an opportunity to go on a similar trip you should definitely do so. 

Here are some of the pictures I took on the trip:
this is the odd bus used by the German tv crew. you might see it around Israel. They usually travel with it around Europe.

a "salt pillar forest" at the edge of the water

you can see the salt pillars forming in the water, still under water level but soon will be exposed

the mini stalactites forming from the salt and minerals 

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