Geographical InsightsLandforms and Bodies of Water

Where is the Lowest Point in the World?

The quest to identify the world’s lowest points is a fascinating journey across diverse geographies. From the hypersaline waters of the Dead Sea to the mysterious depths of the Mariana Trench, each site offers unique insights into Earth’s topography.

Lowest Point on Land: The Dead Sea

Situated at the borders of Israel and Jordan, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on land, at approximately 414 meters (1,358 feet) below sea level​​. This hypersaline lake, also known as Al-Baḥr Al-Mayyit (Arabic) or Yam HaMelaẖ (Hebrew), is a geological marvel located within the Judean Desert and bordered by the hills of Judea and the Transjordanian plateaus​​.

Unique Features

  • Salinity: With a salinity of 34.2%, the Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water, surpassed only by a few others, like Antarctica’s Don Juan Pond Lake Vanda and Djibouti’s Lake Assal.
  • Geological Formation: The Dead Sea sits atop the Dead Sea Rift, a tectonic fault line, and is part of a deep valley at the transform boundary between the African and Arabian Plates​​.
  • Receding Waters: The lake’s depth is decreasing at about one meter per year, mainly due to the diversion of the Jordan River and increasing evaporation rates in the arid desert climate.

Lowest Point at Sea: The Mariana Trench

Illustration of the Mariana Trench with a submersible beam illuminating the deep-sea environment.
A submersible’s journey into the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans.

The Mariana Trench, located in the western Pacific Ocean, claims the title of the deepest oceanic trench on Earth. Its most profound section, the Challenger Deep, reaches a staggering depth of approximately 10,984 meters (36,037 feet)​​.

Characteristics

  • Pressure and Temperature: At the bottom of the trench, the water column exerts over 1,000 times the standard atmospheric pressure at sea level, with temperatures ranging between 1 to 4 °C (34 to 39 °F).
  • Biological Life: Despite extreme conditions, one-celled organisms called monothalamea and other microbial life forms have been discovered at record depths within the trench.

Top 10 Lowest Points on Land

  1. The Dead Sea, Jordan/Israel – 414 meters below sea level​​.
  2. Lake Assal, Djibouti – 155 meters below sea level​​.
  3. Turpan Pendi, China – 154 meters below sea level​​.
  4. Qattara Depression, Egypt – 133 meters below sea level​​.
  5. Vpadina Kaundy, Kazakhstan – 132 meters below sea level​​.
  6. Denakil Depression, Ethiopia – 125 meters below sea level​​.
  7. Laguna del Carbón, Argentina – 105 meters below sea level​​.
  8. Death Valley, United States – 86 meters below sea level​​.
  9. Vpadina Akchanaya, Turkmenistan – 81 meters below sea level​​.
  10. The Salton Sea, United States – 69 meters below sea level​​.

What Did We Learn Today?

Our exploration reveals that the Dead Sea is the lowest point on land, while the Mariana Trench holds the record for the lowest point at sea. These locations represent extremes in Earth’s topography and embody unique ecological and geological characteristics. Understanding these extreme locations broadens our perspective on our planet’s surface’s diverse and dynamic nature.

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