As a part of the DEad Sea Integrated REsearch (DESIRE) project a near-vertical incidence reflection (NVR) experiment with a profile length of 122 km was completed in spring 2006. The profile crossed the southern Dead Sea basin (DSB), a pull-apart basin due to the strike-slip motion along the Dead Sea Transform (DST). The DST with a total displacement of 107 km since about 18 Ma is part of a left-lateral fault system which connects the spreading centre in the Red Sea with the Taurus collision zone in Turkey over a distance of about 1100 km. The seismic experiment comprises 972 source locations and 1045 receiver locations. Each source was recorded by ∼180 active receivers and a field data set with 175 000 traces was created. From this data set, 124 444 P-wave first-break traveltimes have been picked. With these traveltimes a tomographic inversion was carried out, resulting in a 2-D P-wave velocity model with a rms error of 20.9 ms. This model is dominated by a low-velocity region associated with the DSB. Within the DSB, the model shows clearly the position of the Lisan salt diapir, identified by a high-velocity zone. A further feature is an unexpected laterally low-velocity zone with P-velocities of 3 km s–1 embedded in regions with 4 km s–1 in the shallow part on the west side of the DSB. Another observation is an anticlinal structure west of the DSB interpretated to the related Syrian arc fold belt.