Sinkholes Facts : Up to 100 meters in diameter and 50 meters deep can have these huge tunnels that proliferate on the margins of one of the most special seas in the world. Can something positive be achieved from this natural disaster? The retreat of the Dead Sea is a fact. Scientists have found that it does so at a dizzying rate of 1 meter per year.
And as it recedes, it leaves a trail of devastation, in the form of huge holes. In total there are 6,500 of these wells in areas that once formed part of the Dead Sea. The sinkholes are the result of the absence of water.
Why Are Holes Formed?
The sinkholes result from the absence of water, motivated in large part because the natural tributaries of the Dead Sea are being diverted for agricultural purposes and to obtain drinking water, necessary for a growing population.
Some of the tunnels have come to destroy important roads in countries bordering the Dead Sea. Another part of the deterioration, says the government of Israel, has to do with the region’s mining activity.
Some environmental organizations blame this situation on a bad hydraulic policy in the Middle East, where the political situation prevents reaching multinational agreements that try to stop the decline of the Dead Sea.
When the water disappears, it exposes a large layer of salt that had been there for thousands of years, protected by water.
When it rains or the freshwater of the subsoil penetrates under the earth, the components of that water in contact with the salt end up creating cavities that collapse.
The result is huge craters up to 100 meters in diameter and 50 meters deep. They estimate that there are more than 6,000 craters in areas that were once part of the Dead Sea.
A BBC team was visiting the area and was able to speak with an expert who has been studying these tunnels for 17 years. Despite the image of devastation, Eli Raz believes that positive teachings can be obtained.
“This should serve to let people know about the Dead Sea crisis, to understand what is happening.” Raz also proposes to obtain an economic benefit for the area.
“I think we are letting something go”, meaning that the landscape can attract tourists who want to admire this phenomenon of nature.
The area is an important tourist focus, both international and local. To this day, despite the multitude of wells around the Dead Sea, none of them has safe access to visit it.
For Raz, offering a safe way to reach them would be a way to show the world what is happening and reactivate tourism in the area.
In recent years, two of the most touristic beaches in the area have been closed, and the Mineral Beach resort has been closed due to the drying up of the sea and the tunnels.