The narrow blue finger of the Dead Sea stretches between Israel and Jordan in an extension of Africa's Great Rift Valley.
The shore along the Sea is the lowest place on land-approximately 1300 feet below sea level. Its water is the world's saltiest, seven times more so than the oceans' and almost twice as salty as the Great Salt Lake.
Why so salty? Being cut off by the surrounding land, the Dead Sea loses water mainly through evaporation; and when water evaporates, it leaves an increasing residue of its dissolved salts and minerals.
Today the layers of salt that have precipitated over the bottom of the Sea are thought to be hundreds of feet thick and still growing.