Is it possible for some parts of the world to exist below sea level? The answer is yes. Sea level is the average level of the Earth’s surface which is used as a parameter to measure the planet’s elevation. There are multiple locations that have a negative attitude when compared to sea level. In the post below, you will find out about six such locations that are indeed unique.
The Dead Sea – Israel, Jordan
The lowest point or the deepest place on Earth is the Dead Sea in the Jordan Rift Valley, bordered by Isreal on the west and Jordan on the east. It is a famous tourist destination where people visit to explore the uniqueness of this sea.
The known depth of this point compared to sea level is almost 1,355 feet (413 meters) however, the parameter can be complicated due to various weather conditions. It depends upon the rate of precipitation and the level of water evaporation from the sea. In case of a drought, when there is limited rainfall and evaporation rate is high, the depth of this lowest point can reach its maximum which is 1,355 feet below sea level. After the rainfall, the depth can be decreased by a few feet.
The distinguishing feature of this coast is the high salt content which forms for the incredibly unique natural landscape. The high concentration of salt attracts tourists due to health reasons. It is believed that salt water can cure numerous diseases and conditions of the skin.
The reason for excessive salt concentration in this sea is the presence of salt rocks during the oceanic water. Due to higher levels of evaporation of the water from the sea, the salt rocks are exposed even at the coast. Also, these salt rocks are the reason for the formation of natural landscapes and sculptures. So tourists who visit this place not only enjoy the unique formations but also benefit from the assumed healing properties of the water from this deepest point on Earth.
Lake Assal, Djibouti
The second-lowest point is the Lake Assal in Djibouti. An East African country located in the Horn of Africa on the Gulf of Aden. It is situated at the bottom of a crater lake which is almost 509 feet (155 meters) below sea level.
This lake is a part of the larger region known as the Afar depression which extends well into Ethiopia. It was described by National Geographic as the cruelest place on Earth due to extreme climatic conditions. Similar to most other lowest points, Lake Assal is characterized by high temperatures, desert and a volcanic landscape.
The Turfan Depression
The third lowest point below sea level is Turfan Depression, a location in China with a depth of 505 feet (154 meters). This, however, is the average depth of the area and the exact depth varies with climatic conditions. Despite the hot and dry climate, there is a salt lake at the bottom of this depression. In the northern part of this depression is a small oasis city known as Turfan.
Based on the archaeological research, it is believed that the area was inhabited by humans in the 10th century. Today, this is an important historical site for tourists who can enjoy the remains of the early civilization along with the evidence of the last volcanic eruption in the 12th century. It is also believed that the high level of volcanic activity over the number of years has also contributed towards the formation of this depression.
This depression also experiences the similar weather conditions as the Lake Assal. The summers are hot and dry and temperatures in the region can spike up to 104 oF. During the summers, this deepest point in South Asia and China is always dry so is the salt water lake at the bottom of this depression.
Another deepest lowland is again found in the African continent. With a depression of 436 feet (133 meters) below the sea level, the Qattara Depression forms one of the lowest points in Africa. After extensive research of this region, the archeologists believe that the region was never inhabited due to the extreme weather conditions and lack of water. The average annual rainfall in the region is as low as 2.1 inch. During summers, the temperature can rise as high as 97 oF. The extensive heat and lack of rainfall results in the prevention of water basins however, the distinguishing feature despite high temperatures in the breeze which does not stop at any time of the year. Today, only a few nomads can be found in the region.
Caspian Depression, Kazakhstan
The largest enclosed body of water in the world is the Caspian Sea which is also one of the lowest points below sea level. The shore of this depression is almost 92 feet (28 meters) below sea level. The sea strands its borders with countries of the U.S.S.R region including Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Russia and Iran. Unlike its name Caspian Sea, the Caspian Sea is not a sea or part of the ocean but is a salt water lake with no natural outflow. This lowland depression includes the Northern Part of the Caspian Sea.
Another lowland in Africa is the Danakil Valley. It is located in Ethiopia and is referred to as Danakil desert. The valley is unique because it is located at the border of the three large tectonic plates including the African plate, the Indian Plate and the Arabic Plate. This valley is considered to be one of the most dangerous places in the world. This is not only due to extreme temperature and weather conditions but also due to the poisonous landscapes. The valley is known for its constant volcanic eruptions which are accompanied with sulfurous water. Together, it forms a dangerous landscape releasing toxic fumes that too at a depth of 410 feet below sea level.
This extremely hot and dangerous valley was not known until 1928 when a group of travelers first identified this location. This group of travelers which was led by Tullio Pastori managed to cross the valley on foot. To date, no other group of travelers have managed to accomplish this. As of now, this valley is a tourist destination but only for those courageous enough to survive in extreme conditions. It is here that you can witness the continuous eruptions of lava which have been spreading since many years.
Lands below the sea level not only have a unique landscape but also have distinct weather conditions which are much different from that on the surfaces at sea level. There are many other lowlands of Earth. Some of the most famous ones not included in this list are the Death Valley and the Salton Trough.