‘Hot springs’ bring life to the Near East

Written by Staff Writer “Hot springs, waters with an incredibly long heat and moisture-carrying capacity, are constantly replenished,” says Timothy Taylor, who heads Jordan’s Coastal Protections Programme. He was visiting Dead Sea-region hot springs…

'Hot springs' bring life to the Near East

Written by Staff Writer

“Hot springs, waters with an incredibly long heat and moisture-carrying capacity, are constantly replenished,” says Timothy Taylor, who heads Jordan’s Coastal Protections Programme. He was visiting Dead Sea-region hot springs at the Red Sea’s Atma Tents to show CNN Travel how the town’s water brings its nearby inhabitants life.

“Hot spring water has been abundant for millennia.”

Having grown accustomed to its ability to provide both a source of ice and mineral, Jordan’s supporters don’t want the region’s diminishing presence to trigger the dissolution of the creation of the Dead Sea.

To do this, they’ve turned to their neighbors and supporters.

1 / 10 – The Shafrah hot springs, Jordan Shehab Hot Springs Bedouin Tribal communities from the “mountains of Arabia” where the Jordan River originates migrated to the Levant at the end of the Middle Ages, to escape armed conflict, poverty and the region’s other challenges. Middle Eastern officials in 1957 followed their lead, building the Jordan-Saudi border at the same time, opening the Dar Khaldun arid and semi-arid valleys to the wider desert below. Credit: Britnell (Flickr CC license)

“In the Jordan Valley and Blue Sea region, there’s a mixture of indigenous groups from the regions that make up Jordan,” Taylor says. “We have Bedouin tribes from around the King Abdullah Provinces who have historically depended upon the geothermal water to provide them with water, and farmers as well as villages from across Jordan.”

After its discovery in the 15th century, Jordan was the world’s first northern capital, and the source of a large part of its water supply.

The Dead Sea at sunset. | Peter J Matthews, Getty Images

The Dead Sea shrank thanks to shallow waters, collapsing up to 1 meter a year. According to evidence uncovered during drilling, the discharge from the Red Sea Hot Springs at Atma Tents — from where the Jordan River empties into the Sea of Galilee — came to four metres a year when it was new.

“Even before the inception of the cold waters of the Dead Sea, this large natural reservoir of geothermal water was providing the Bedouin tribes along the King Abdullah Provinces with warm fluids that were critical to their health,” says Richard Sturkenbacher of Jeribes Drilling

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