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I cannot think of a subject more befitting the description of interdisciplinary research with societal relevance than the study of the Dead Sea, a terminal lake of the Jordan River in Israel and Jordan. The scientific study of the Dead Sea is intimately connected with politics, religion, archeology, economic development, tourism, and environmental change.

The Dead Sea is a relatively closed geologic and limnologic system with drastic physical changes often occurring on human timescales and with a long human history to observe these changes. Research in this unique area covers diverse aspects such as active subsidence and deformation along strike-slip faults; vertical stratification and stability of the water column; physical properties of extremely saline and dense (1234 kg/m3) water; spontaneous precipitation of minerals in an oversaturated environment; origin of the unusual chemical composition of the brine; existence of life in extreme environments; use of lake level fluctuations as a paleoclimatic indicator; and effects on the environment of human intervention versus natural climatic variability. Although the Dead Sea covers a small area on a global scale, it is nevertheless one of the largest natural laboratories for these types of research on Earth. These reasons make the Dead Sea a fascinating topic for the curious mind.