Diving Expedition Finds New Life in the Dead Sea

By Valerie Ross | October 1, 2011 8:00 am

Israeli and German scientists recently took the plunge into the murky, salty Dead Sea, making what they say is the first scientific diving expedition there. Scouring the seafloor, they saw small freshwater springs—with mats of salt-loving, never-before-seen microorganisms coating the surface of nearby craters. In these waters—too salty for large animals, too rich in magnesium for many bacteria—seeing so much life was a surprise.

While floating in the Dead Sea is a popular tourist pastime, scuba-ing into its depths is a difficult and dangerous endeavor. Since the salty water is so buoyant, the divers had to carry 90 pounds each to weigh them down. Swallowing some of the salty water—a not-implausible occurrence during a dive—would make the larynx swell up, leading the diver to suffocate. If that weren’t enough, getting the water in your eyes would be painful at best, and potentially blinding. The scientists wore full face masks during their dive, and apparently weren’t scared off; they’re headed back down for a follow-up study in October.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment, Living World
  • Baramos

    Welp. Finally found the de facto picture to put in the dictionary next to “irony”.

  • fintin

    Where else might we find life?

  • 2crudedudes

    So the Dead Sea is neither dead nor a sea. Beautiful.

  • Brian Too

    @3. 2crudedudes,

    I’m feeling a bit verklempt! Give me a moment…

    Talk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic. The Dead Sea is neither dead nor a sea. Discuss.

    /LindaRichman

  • Jennifer Angela

    Perhaps they called it the Dead Sea, because being a human you can end up being dead, if you enter that particular sea in addition to having presumed, that no living organism can survive there since it´s extremely hazardous and at times fatal to people. But as it turns out, some creatures DO live in the “dead” sea! Those little brutes!

  • theperson123

    What makes you think that the Dead Sea is not a sea? just because it is landlocked does not mean that it is atomatically not a sea!

  • http://www.WhatRecipesDontTellYou.com George Erdosh

    Not only dead but possibly injured. A month ago I was floating on top of the water, and because of the heavy salt content, it’s not so easy just to stand up. I put my hand down the bottom to help, and got I nice long cut on my finger from a sharp salt crystal.

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