The Dead Sea Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

In this lesson, you'll learn about a very unusual place on Earth called the Dead Sea. Find out what's so special about this body of water and what it had to do with Roman soldiers.

Payment in Salt?

If you were a Roman soldier stationed in Israel almost 2,000 years ago, when it was time for you to be paid for your service, you wouldn't have received any money, gold, or silver. Instead, you'd have been paid in salt! Salt? Believe it or not, that's true! Roman soldiers were given salt because salt was very valuable.

At that time, there were no refrigerators or freezers, so meats were salted to help preserve, or make them last longer. Today, when we're paid for our work, we get a ''salary.'' The word ''salary'' actually comes from the Latin word sal, which means ''salt.''

The Dead Sea

Where do you think the Romans got all the salt they needed? Although it might seem odd, they got salt from a lake! The Romans controlled a very unusual lake called the Dead Sea. Let's find out more about this very salty body of water.

Where Does the Salt Come From?

The Dead Sea is a lake in Asia located on the border between the countries of Israel and Jordan. The Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, bringing in fresh water. Springs at the bottom of the lake also transport fresh water. Even though the water coming into the lake isn't salty, it soon becomes salty.

The Dead Sea is located in the desert, where there isn't much rainfall. In the summer, the weather is very hot, and even in the winter, temperatures rarely drop below the freezing point. Due to the mild temperatures, the water in the lake evaporates very quickly. When water evaporates, it turns from a liquid (water) into a gas (water vapor). The water vapor rises up out of the lake into the air, where it sometimes looks very misty because there's so much evaporation happening.

Salt on the Dead Sea Shore

When the water evaporates, it leaves behind minerals, including salt, that have been carried into the lake. These minerals start to build up over time. When you look at the Dead Sea, you can actually see mounds of salt crystals on the shores of the lake, or even growing out of the water. This process makes the Dead Sea one of the saltiest bodies of water on the Earth, more than ten times saltier than ocean water.

What Makes the Dead Sea Unusual?

The Dead Sea is very unusual. Here are some interesting facts about the Dead Sea:

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