The Dead Sea and Surrounding Hills and Mountains
The Dead Sea is located between Israel and the West Bank to the west, and Jordan to the east. It is an endorheic lake located in the Jordan Rift Valley, a geographic feature formed by the Dead Sea Transform.
This left lateral-moving transform fault lies along the tectonic plate boundary between the African Plate and the Arabian Plate. It runs between the East Anatolian Fault zone in Turkey and the northern end of the Red Sea Rift offshore of the southern tip of Sinai.
The Jordan River is the only major water source flowing into the Dead Sea, although there are small perennial springs under and around the Dead Sea, creating pools and quicksand pits along the edges. There are no outlet streams.
Rainfall is scarcely 100 mm (4 in) per year in the northern part of the Dead Sea and barely 50 mm (2 in) in the southern part. The Dead Sea zone’s aridity is due to the rainshadow effect of the Judean Hills. The highlands east of the Dead Sea receive more rainfall than the Dead Sea itself.
To the west of the Dead Sea, the Judean Hills rise less steeply, and are much lower, than the mountains to the east. Along the southwestern side of the lake is a 210 m (700 ft) tall halite formation called “Mount Sodom”.
The lower section of the sea appears green and crossed by parallel lines; these are the Dead Sea Dikes, extensive salt evaporation pans.