Red Sea-Dead Sea Pipeline Planned

WORLD

Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have signed an agreement on an ambitious and contested project to replenish the rapidly shrinking Dead Sea by transferring in water from the Red Sea along a 177-kilometer (110-mile) pipeline. (Guardian)

Use our resources to better understand the Two-Seas Canal.

Discussion Ideas

  • The Two Seas Canal—the “Red-Dead Conduit” described in the video above—would replenish the rapidly shrinking Dead Sea with water from the Red Sea. Look at our MapMaker Interactive focused on the Dead Sea and Red Sea (specifically, the Gulf of Aqaba). Why are engineers and environmentalists not concerned that the Red Sea, depleted of millions of liters of water, will shrink, just like the Dead Sea?
    • The Red Sea, including the Gulf of Aqaba, is part of the Indian Ocean. If the ocean starts to dry up, the world will have much more pressing issues than Israeli tourism!
  • The Dead Sea is a hypersaline lake. Fed by the (freshwater) Jordan River, the Dead Sea is so salty (almost 10 times as salty as the ocean!) due to the salt beds into which the river empties. Because it is an endorheic basin—it has no outlet—the Dead Sea becomes saltier and saltier as water evaporates. Can you name some other hypersaline lakes?
  • Another criticism of the Two Seas Canal is that it lies in an tectonically active area, meaning it is prone to earthquakes. Return to our MapMaker Interactive, and turn on the “Plate Tectonics” layer (found in “Physical Systems-Land”). Why do you think this region is tectonically active?
    • The Two Seas Canal would follow the transform boundary between the African (west) and Arabian (east) tectonic plates. In fact, this region is called the Dead Sea Transform.
      • The tectonic activity of the Dead Sea Transform is the reason the two seas (Red and Dead) exist in the first place. Both plates are moving north, but the Arabian plate is moving much faster, causing enough displacement to form “pull-apart basins” such as the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba.

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