Science Fact of the Week: The World’s Saltiest Body of Water

19 11 2008

dead-sea-2If you have ever visited the ocean, you know that ocean water is different from the water we drinkat home. That’s because oceans are made up of salt water and most lakes and rivers are basically fresh water. 

Have you ever wondered why the ocean is salty in the first place? Most soil and rocks are made up of small amounts of salt. As rivers and streams flow towards the ocean, their current picks up the small traces of salt and deposits them into the ocean. Although these traces of salt are very small, it builds up over time, making the ocean noticeably salty!

Did you know that there is a body of water that is much saltier than even the ocean? The Dead Sea, which lies between Israel and Jordan, is considered the saltiest body of water in the world!

While most oceans are only made up of 3 to 6% salt, the Dead Sea is made up of 28 to 35% salt! This is because the Dead Sea is completely landlocked and is much lower than the land around it. When salt flows from rocks and soil down into the Dead Sea it becomes trapped and has no way to escape.

Salt water is denser, or heavier, than fresh water. Because it is denser, it makes it easier for things to float in it than in fresh water. The salt water in the Dead Sea is so dense that it is VERY easy to float in it! Watch the following video for an interesting science experiment involving salt water and density:




One response

24 09 2011

Don Juan Pond in Antarctica are the saltiest body of water in the world (~63%). Also, Lake Vanda in Antarctica, Lake Assal in Djibouti, and Garabogazkol in Turkmenistan are a little saltier than the Dead Sea. Therefore, the Dead Sea is not the saltiest body of water in the world.

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