Science, Tech & Environment

Abundant Microbial Life and Fresh Water Springs

For today's Geo Quiz we're searching for one of the lowest points on the surface of the earth.

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If you were to stand on the shore of this inland sea, you'd be at 1400 feet below sea level.

And this body of water is salty — nearly 10 times saltier than ocean water, so it's sometimes called the Salt Sea.

The high concentration of salt and minerals like magnesium make good ingredients in cosmetics, but the environment is very harsh. There's no fish anywhere …Not even water lilies can survive in this sea.

But a team of divers was surprised to discover fresh water springs welling up from the bottom of this sea….

Then they found a diversity of microbial plants that seem to thrive in this extreme environments.

So can you name this inland see near Israel and Jordon?

We'll talk with one of the marine scientists – when we reveal the answer here.

The answer to today's Geo Quiz is the Dead Sea. It's one of world's saltiest bodies of water and until recently was believed to be too harsh to sustain any marine life. Marine biologist Danny Ionescu of Germany's Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology tells anchor Marco Werman about his recent research revealing abundant microbial life and fresh water springs at the bottom of the Dead Sea.

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    Dead Sea (Photo: Wikipedia Commons / Ian and Wendy Sewell)



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    Scientific divers had to carry special gears. The salty environment is toxic for humans and the divers had to wear full-face masks. They also had to carry huge amounts of lead to lower their buoyancy and to dive in this high density liquid. (Source: Chris


    HYDRA / Christian Lott

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    Artist`s view of the springs system.