physikanten & co // News // Dead Sea Science // Part 2: Heavy seawater

Part 2: Heavy seawater

The Dead Sea lies 428 metres below sea level, assuming that is the level of the world’s oceans. Water from Jordan flows into it but cannot flow out, instead it can only evaporate. The salt is left behind, giving the Dead Sea extraordinary properties.

The water in the Dead Sea contains an extreme amount of salt: around a half consists of Magnesium Chloride, almost a third Sodium Chloride (table salt), and the rest is mainly Calcium Chloride and Potassium Chloride. The salt in the water leads to an unusually high density, which I wanted to measure myself. To do this I simply took a bottle full of the sea’s water home in my luggage.
Everyone who I showed the bottle too wanted to taste it. Even if you only dip your finger in and lick a little bit of it, you would notice how disgusting it tastes. But what can I say; you just have to try it!
Measuring the density itself is easy: put the bottle on the scales, take away the weight of the bottle, determine the volume of the liquid and then calculate the density, ρ:

ρ_SaltWater =m_SaltWater/V_SaltWater =1804g/(1.45 l)= 1.24   g/cm^3

In literature we find an average density of (tada!!) ***1.24g/cm^3 ***
My sample of water came from near the surface. Deeper in the Dead Sea the density is bigger, and my measurement was only a snapshot of the surface.
The layers of different densities can be literally seen. More about that in part 3.
I wanted to let the water evaporate from the saltwater solution and I was curious to see how long it took until only salt remained.

After the vase had stood for many months on the windowsill, with the water constantly, albeit very slowly, becoming less and less, we went on an autumn holiday. When we came back the vase was empty. What had happened??
My favourite mother-in-law had been in the apartment every now and then and thought to herself: “Oh, this flower vase with the muddy water should be tipped away.” Arghhh! After I had explained to her about ruining my long-term experiment, she had to admit that she had wondered why the water was still clear, and didn’t have a green shimmer or any algae growth.
Obviously this shows the Dead Sea water is inhospitable to life.
And it shows that when it comes to the mother-in-law, no-one can be too careful…

---> Click here to go to part three.

Facebook   |   FAQ   |   Impressum + Datenschutz   |   GTC   |   |   |   |