Dead Sea Sinkholes

In the past few decades sinkholes have permeated the area around the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is drying up at an incredible rate leaving huge chasms of empty space in its wake.

The eruption of these large cavities has undeniably become a serious issue of human and environmental safety which is also tied to the fight to stop the Dead Sea’s shrinkage.

The sinkholes occur suddenly, can be huge and deep – and endanger locals. These chasms appear in the form of large, devastating sinkholes and are increasing in number throughout the region.

Experts claim they are now forming at a rate of nearly one a day, but have no way of knowing when or how they will show up.

Dead Sea sinkholes are created with a sudden collapse of earth due to geologic instability. They vary in size, with some measuring up to 25 meters or more in width and over 20 meters deep. The cause of this environmental catastrophe is linked strongly to the decline in the level of the Dead Sea.

The sinkholes are divided into three types: gravel holes occurring in alluvial fans, mud holes occurring in clay deposits, and a combination of the two. Gravel holes are funnel shaped and can be 1-30m in diameter, and mud holes are around 3-20m in diameter.

In the past few years the rate of sinkhole formation has greatly accelerated to around 150-200 new sinkholes a year. There is no question that these sinkholes are a dramatic danger to human life and development in the region.

The Dead Sea spans more than 60 miles through Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan. On the Israeli side alone, there are now over 3,000 sinkholes around the Dead Sea.

An aerial view shows a close up of a salt formation inside a large sinkhole on the shores of the Dead Sea. The increase in sinkholes is directly related to the Dead Sea drying up at a rate of one meter per year

The water level continues to drop at an alarming pace of 0.8 to 1.2 meters per year. When the freshwater dissolves the salt, it creates a void, causing the landscape around and above it to suddenly collapse.

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