The Dead Sea has been receding at an alarming rate. One side effect is that aquifers along the banks of the sea, carrying fresh water, are also shrinking along with the sea. There are extensive salt deposits that become subject to chemical change, as the fresh water diffuses beneath. Accordingly, the water slowly dissolves the salt causing chaotic and sudden collapse of the ground.
Over recent years, the main highway had to be re-routed, petrol stations removed, and access to the Dead Sea for bathers prohibited. Aside from the danger of sinkholes, this has also had an impact on the ecological system.
The receding of the Dead Sea has been attributed to a number of factors. One major contributing factor has been the upstream diversion of water flowing from the River Jordan into the Dead Sea. Farmers in the north have depended on the diversion to water their land. Other factors include the high rate of evaporation that is natural for such an arid area.