• Issue: July 1965
  • Designer: Z. Narkiss
  • Plate no.: 150 - 151
  • Method of printing: Photolithography

How was the Dead Sea formed? In an early geological era, a long narrow strip of the earth's surface, stretching from the Taurus mountains in southern Turkey, through the Jordan and Arava valleys down to the Gulf of Eilat and the Red Sea, subsided. Rivers which had formerly flowed into the Mediterranean Sea collected together in the newly formed rift and thus created a row of lakes. In later periods these lakes contracted and it is believed that the Dead Sea is all that remains today of a prehistoric stretch of sea that once covered the whole of the Jordan valley.

The Dead Sea is a unique type of lake. Unique, in that its level is about 400 meters below that of the Mediterranean Sea and in that the concentration of its salts is ten times higher than that of any other sea or lake. Every liter of Dead Sea water contains an average 300 grams of salts.

The Dead Sea is one of the greatest sources of salts in the world, containing 22 thousand million tons of magnesium chloride, 12 thousand million tons of common salt, six thousand million tons of calcium chloride, two thousand million tons of potassium chloride, and one thousand million tons of magnesium bromide. The Dead Sea has certain exceptional climatic conditions such as high temperatures throughout the year, high air pressure and a very low rainfall. These conditions result in an extremely high seawater evaporation rate and this phenomenon is taken advantage of in the production process of the salts.

Until the end of the 1920s the Dead Sea remained desolate and barren. In 1929 Moshe Novomeysky, a chemical engineer, succeeded in obtaining a concession to extract the various valuable minerals from the waters of the Dead Sea. In the following year the Palestine Potash Co. Ltd. was established and the building of a factory was begun at Kalia on the northern bank of the Sea. At the beginning of 1932 bromine production was started and at the end of the same year potash was produced. After another five years had passed, another factory was built at Sedom. By 1947, potash production at the two plants had reached 102,000 tons.

During the War of Independence the northern factory was destroyed and the plant at Sedom was under siege for many months. For some years after the war the approach to Sedom remained most difficult, the factory was without its previous sweet-water sources and only part of the evaporation pans was in Israel territory.

In the summer of 1952 a new company was established - Dead Sea Works Ltd. - which undertook the task of putting to use and developing these vast natural resources of our country. The building of a new road to Sedom, the boring of new wells and the training of new personnel enabled potash production to be resumed and increased.

The natural gas well at Rosh Zohar, the phosphate mines at Oron and Arad and the salts in the Dead Sea prompted the recent research on the possibility of developing a chemical industrial complex to utilize all these natural resources to the maximum in a wide range of related industrial and agricultural products.

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Dead Sea Works