World’s Longest Salt Cave Discovered in Israel

Deep inside Mount Sodom on the Dead Sea coast is a newly revealed secret. Over a long period of time water has slowly carved out a salt cave.

The Dead Sea is known for its high salt concentration and the hills surrounding it are formed of salt deposits, layered with dust, capping the underlying rock. These hills are peppered with networks of caves – including the Qumram caves that housed the Dead Sea scrolls.

But the Malham cave, just off of the highway that runs along the coast of the Dead Sea, is different.

Thought to be around 7,000 years old, it is a network of cave chambers and channels that have been carved out of the mountain by rain water dissolving the salt of the hill. Average rainfall in the area is just 50 millimetres annually. But that small amount of water has hollowed out a spectacular space beneath the earth’s surface.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Cave Research Centre first discovered the Malham cave in the 1980’s. Amos Frumkin, its founder and director, mapped about 6 kilometres of its length.

But modern technology recently revealed the full length of the cave. All the tunnels and caverns of the cave total more than 10 kilometres, making it the world’s longest salt cave — a position previously held by Iran’s Cave of the Three Nudes, which is about 6.5 kilometres long.