Depression Of The Dead Sea And Of The Jordan Valley -- By: E. Robinson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 005:19 (Aug 1848)
Article: Depression Of The Dead Sea And Of The Jordan Valley
Author: E. Robinson

Depression Of The Dead Sea And Of The Jordan

E. Robinson

[The following paper was drawn up in April, 1847; and was read before the New York Historical Society, at their meeting in June of the same year. In September following, a copy of it was transmitted to the Royal Geographical Society of London; but I am not informed, whether it has ever been brought to the notice of that Society.

In the meantime, the fact has been made known to the public through the newspapers, that Lieutenants Lynch and Dale of the U. S. Navy sailed in November, 1847, to join the squadron in the Mediterranean; having received permission from the government to make an excursion to the Dead Sea, in order to examine its remarkable phenomena, and also to survey its shores, as well as the whole valley of the Jordan. These gentlemen did me the honor to confer with me in respect to their plan; and the points of inquiry suggested in the present paper, among others, were in consequence brought to their notice. How far they will be able to carry out their plan, remains to be seen; but so far as they shall be permitted to proceed, the public have reason to expect a great accession of accurate and valuable information.—E. R.]

The deep depression of the Dead Sea below the Mediterranean, appears never to have been suspected down to the time of its actual discovery; and no experiments were ever made to ascertain the true level, until March, 1837. At that time, Messrs. Moore and Beke, in attempting a survey of the Dead Sea, were led to examine the question of its comparative elevation, by means of some experiments on the boiling point of water. They were greatly surprised at the

results; which indicated a depression of about five hundred English feet1 A month later, in April of the same year, Schubert’s observations with the barometer gave the depression at about six hundred (598.5) Paris feet2

In the following year, 1838, two barometrical measurements were taken. That of Bertou, a French traveller, gave to the sea a depression of 406 metres, or 1332 feet English.3 The other, by Russegger, a German, indicated 1319 Paris feet, equal to 1400 feet English.4

The results of similar barometrical measurements for the level of the lakes of Tiberias and the Hûleh by Schubert and Bertou, exhibited a still greater diversity. The former made the depression of the first lake to be five hundred and thirty-five Paris feet; only sixty-...

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