|Location:||At the road from Jericho to Eilat, at the southern end of the Dead Sea, 3km South of Newe Zohar. (31°05" N 32°26" E)|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1937||potash works in Sedom established|
|1952||road to Sedom built.|
Sedom is a famous name from the Old Testament. The two cities of Sodom and Gomorrha were bad to the bones and God decided to destroy them. Only Lot with his family was allowed to leave the city, but with the advice not to look back. However, Lot's wife was so curious to look back so she was transformed into a pilar of salt.
Although most of the bibical stories have showed a historic core, this story has still no archaeological proof. There is some evidence, that the two cities were located in the plains south of the Dead Sea. But until today, no archaeological remains do proof this. So it is only a theory that the cities may have been destoyed by a seismic event in this tectonic active Dead Sea graben.
The place today called Sedom, is a rough parking lot beneath the road. But it has two sights, making it a stop on sightseeing tours. Above the parking lot, on top of the hill is a pillar formed of salt and called Lot's Wife. (Genesis 19:26)
But not only this pilar, the whole ridge where this hill belongs to is formed of salt and silt. The whole ridge called Sedom Mountain is 11 by 3km big and is 98% salt. This are sediments of the Dead Sea, which flooded this rather flat area numerous times during thousands of years. Later the salt was lifted and is now up to 250m higher than the Dead Sea. At the first glimpse, the rocks look like silt, but a closer look reveals the high content of numerous salts.
Fortunately this area is arid, a desert climate, as any rain would wash away the salt. But sometimes it may rain even in the desert. The run-off water that collects on the surface cuts through to form a unique series of potholes that drain into a maze of caves.
A big salt cave, called Sedom Cave (guess why...), is the second sight on this place. It is not very impressing for the regular tourist, especially as it may not be entered due to a possible collapse. But it is a speleologic highlight.
Salt caves are maybe the rarest caves on earth, as they need a special geographic situation and an arid climate. And even then, they have a very short live, now you see them, now you don't....
The inside of the cave is similar to limestone caves, formed by solution by flowing water. The rapid solution of the rock, as salt is soluble in water, without the carbon dioxide necessary for the solution of limestone,