8. Dead Sea Israel/Jordan
This body of water in Israel and Jordan certainly does not have a shortage of bleak or depressing nicknames. Lake of Asphalt, Salt Sea, Sea of the Devil, and Stinking Lake are a few, even though it holds some biblical importance. Its high mineral content, which makes it ten times saltier than the world’s oceans, allows nothing to live in its waters except some bacteria. It lies at the lowest point of dry earth on the planet, plunging 1,300 feet below sea level. Being so low, water does not drain but can only evaporate leaving only the strong concentration of minerals. An estimated 7 million tons of water evaporates daily.
The mineral deposits are actually sought after and are used for things such as medicines, fertilizers, and cosmetics. Health spas and resorts were also commonplace on the sea because it was, and still is, believed that the water has healing properties. However, scientists are warning that the Dead Sea is in fact dying itself. In recent years, it has been rapidly shrinking with the southern end disappearing altogether. Over the past 50 years the water level has dropped 80 feet and the sea has lost a third of its volume. To make matters worse, the only thing that flows into the sea is raw sewage with virtually no fresh water replenishing it. While officials are devising ways to keep the Dead Sea as pristine as they possibly can, it is evident that it will never be the same again and its destiny is that it will continue to dwindle. Strict conservation efforts must be put into effect to at least slow the inevitable.