Environment

Diving Expedition Finds New Life in the Dead Sea

80beatsBy Valerie RossOct 1, 2011 12:00 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHLiobkTUd0&feature=player_embedded 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.

1 free article left
Want More? Get unlimited access for as low as $1.99/month
Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
1 free articleSubscribe
Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Log In or Register
More From Discover
Recommendations From Our Store
Shop Now
Stay Curious
Join
Our List

Sign up for our weekly science updates.

 
Subscribe
To The Magazine

Save up to 70% off the cover price when you subscribe to Discover magazine.

Copyright © 2021 Kalmbach Media Co.