why do people float in the dead sea

Why do people float in the Dead Sea? Famous for its extraordinary qualities, the Dead Sea never fails to amaze both travelers and scientists.

The effortless floating experience it offers to people is simply amazing. For centuries, people have been captivated by the intriguing phenomenon of floating in the Dead Sea.

But, what are the scientific and geologic reasonings? Why do people in the Dead Sea Float? Let’s find out now!

People float in the Dead Sea because of its high salinity as well as the work of buoyant forces against gravity. 

More about the Wonders of the Dead Sea

the wonders of the dead sea

Situated between Jordan to the east and Israel and Palestine to the west, the Dead Sea stands out as an extraordinary and renowned body of water on a global scale.

The Dead Sea attracts visitors from around the world who come to witness a remarkable natural wonder – the unique ability to float on its surface effortlessly.

 Here is a bit more about the interesting facts associated with the Dead Sea:

High salt concentrationThe Dead Sea boasts an incredibly high salt concentration, approximately ten times saltier than regular seawater.
The lowest point on earthThe Dead Sea’s shores are located at the Earth’s lowest point on land, approximately 427 meters below sea level.
Healing propertiesPeople with skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema may benefit from the mineral-rich waters and mud.
Rapid salt crystallizationHigh temperatures cause salt to evaporate rapidly, causing it to crystallize on the coastlines in interesting shapes.
Colorful mineral depositsThe minerals and salts in the water provide a kaleidoscope of colors, from bright blues and greens to pinks and purples.
Limited marine lifeThe high salt content makes it extremely difficult for any aquatic life to survive, hence the term “Dead” Sea.
Fact: The mud found in the Dead Sea is rich in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium, and is highly valued for therapeutic advantages. 

Why Do People Float in the Dead Sea?

People can float in the Dead Sea for many different reasons, but ultimately, it comes to its salt concentration. 

Salinity and Salt Composition

dead sea's salinity and salt composition

Its remarkably high salt concentration is the main factor behind the effortless floating experience in the Dead Sea.

The saltiness of a body of water is determined by the percentage of dissolved salts present in the water.

While the majority of seas and oceans boast an average salinity of approximately 3.5%, the Dead Sea stands out with its salinity level of about 34%. 

The high salinity of the Dead Sea is influenced by various factors, mostly related to geographical and geological features.  

Geographical and Geological Features

In order to grasp the phenomenon of floating in the Dead Sea, it is crucial to explore the geographical and geological characteristics of the area.

The Dead Sea is a saltwater lake trapped inland, and it holds the record for being the lowest point on Earth’s surface. 

The Role of the Dead Sea Rift

roles of the dead sea rift

The Dead Sea Rift, also referred to as the Jordan Rift Valley, is a notable depression.

The valley was created due to the shifting of tectonic plates, specifically the African Plate moving northward in relation to the Arabian Plate.

The Dead Sea is a component of the expansive Jordan Rift Valley, extending all the way from northern Syria to Mozambique in Africa.

The depression and the surrounding scenery are vital factors in the buildup of salt in the Dead Sea.

The Dead Sea receives a diverse range of minerals, including salts, from the rivers and streams that flow into it from the surrounding area.   

The Impact of Climate

climate's impact to the dead sea

It is important to understand that the area encounters a scorching and dry climate, with temperatures skyrocketing during the summer months.

The scorching temperatures cause water to quickly evaporate from the surface of the sea, leaving behind salts and minerals.

Another important aspect is the influx of freshwater from the Jordan River and other waterways, which introduces extra minerals from the nearby rocks and soil.

As the freshwater evaporates, it continues to intensify the salt content in the Dead Sea. 

An Important Consideration

The arrangement of the salts in the Dead Sea is yet another intriguing aspect. The main salts found are:

  • Magnesium chloride
  • Potassium chloride
  • Sodium chloride

The salt composition of the Dead Sea is unique due to the relatively lower presence of magnesium and potassium salts in most bodies of water.

Fact: The high salinity of the Dead Sea kills off most organisms, including marine animals, but the bacterium Haloferax volcanii does well in these conditions. 

What are the Other Reasons Why People Float in the Dead Sea?

people float in the dead sea

So, can you float in the Dead Sea? Of course, you can.

Ultimately, it all comes down to the salinity of the Dead Sea, but there are other factors playing a role as well. 

Buoyancy and Density

The idea of buoyancy is essential in grasping the reason behind people’s ability to float effortlessly in the Dead Sea.

The concept of buoyancy refers to the uplifting force exerted by a fluid, such as water, which counteracts the gravitational pull on a submerged object.

As explained in Archimedes’ Principle, when an object, including the human body, is submerged in a fluid like water, it encounters an uplifting buoyant force.

The force matches the weight of the displaced fluid. The strength of this buoyant force relies on the amount of fluid displaced. 

The Connection It Has with the Dead Sea

connection with the dead sea

When it comes to the human body, its density is just a tad lower than the water in the Dead Sea because of the abundant salt content.

Consequently, the human body causes a displacement of water that exceeds its own weight, generating a net force in an upward direction.

The buoyant force works against gravity, allowing the body to float on the water’s surface. The more salt there is in the water, the stronger the buoyant force becomes.

Fact: Due to its incredibly high salt concentration, the Dead Sea offers an exceptional buoyant force, letting people float in it.

Cultural and Touristic Importance of the Dead Sea

importance of the dead sea

The Christian Bible has made several references to the Dead Sea, highlighting its importance.

David, a prominent figure in the Bible known for his epic battle against Goliath, is said to have sought refuge from King Saul in the vicinity of the Dead Sea.

Today it is a hot tourist spot with people hoping to see the wonders of floating on the water.

Here is more about its cultural importance.

  • It has sacred sites along its shores.
  • It is believed to possess therapeutic properties.
  • It is a place filled with traditional practices and customs.
  • It has many culinary traditional foods prepared using Dead Sea salt.
  • It has ancient ruins in the surrounding areas.
  • It is great for health and wellness tourism.
  • It attracts religious tourists and pilgrims.

What Should You Remember When Floating in the Dead Sea?

Note when floating in the dead sea

Everyone knows the Dead Sea’s water has a high salinity, which gives it a unique density and oily texture.

The water’s temperature remains warm throughout the year, making it irresistibly inviting to lie back and float on your back.

But, you need to remember a few things. For instance, you should not forget to keep yourself hydrated – the weather can get really parched and scorching.   

Here is what else to bear in mind to play it safe: 

  • Keep your eyes and mouth closed.
  • Do not submerge your head in the water.
  • Shield sensitive areas from water.
  • Do not spend a lot of time in the water to avoid dehydration.
  • Use sunscreen to protect your skin from direct sunlight.
  • Protect open wounds and do not expose them to the water.
  • Be cautious when walking on the seabed, as uneven terrain can make it tricky.
  • Be sure to get familiar with all the safety guidelines first.

While it is generally safe to be in the Dead Sea, it is better to take precautions. Also, you should get familiar with local emergency procedures and available facilities. 


Why do people float in the Dead Sea? The primary reason why you can float in the Dead Sea is based on its salinity.

With so much salt, it becomes heavier than the density of a human, causing them to float.

It truly feels great to have the opportunity to experience the phenomenon firsthand. But, be sure to take precautionary measures to stay safe.