At the end of the Jordan River, the Dead Sea on the border of Israel – known biblically as the Sea of Arabah – is a popular tourist destination, in part, because the sea’s dense salt content provides surprising buoyancy for swimmers.
Just as surprising is the video released by some unidentified beachcombers who found the sea’s famous salinity had formed natural, bite-sized cubes of salt – similar to ice cubes or sugar cubes – that had then washed up on shore.
Seeing salt crystals on the shore of the Dead Sea is commonplace, but less expected is to see nature form the straight lines and right angles necessary to make perfect, little cubes.
The video has popped up on Reddit and dozens of other social media sites and blogs across the world and has garnered over 500,000 views on YouTube.
The formations themselves are best explained when understanding that various salts, including common table salt, Sodium Chloride, naturally form cube-shaped crystals. The Dead Sea provides a perfect environment for these crystals to grow to unusual size.
The Dead Sea is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water, with a salinity varying between 30 and 34 percent, nearly 10 times as salty as the ocean. Located at over 1,400 feet below sea level, the shores of the Dead Sea mark it the lowest-elevation sea on Earth, and with a depth of over 1,000 feet, the sea is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world.