The Gulf Stream – What it is and How it Affects Britain

Brits love to complain about the weather, and one of the most tired, excruciatingly stereotypical jokes about our fair nation is how dismal it tends to be. The fact is though, it should be a hell of a lot colder, given our northerly position and latitude relative to Newfoundland, but instead we enjoy a climate comparable to New England and parts of Canada. We have the Gulf Stream to thank for this.

The Gulf Stream is one of the most powerful currents in the Atlantic Ocean. All the most powerful currents and winds in the oceans of our planet are broken down into the 5 gyres: the Indian Ocean Gyre, the North Atlantic Gyre, the South Atlantic Gyre, the North Pacific Gyre and the South Pacific Gyre. The Gulf Stream is part of the North Atlantic.
All gyres are characterised by a central high pressure zone, within which the currents will move in a wide circle, either clockwise if they’re above the equator or anti-clockwise if below. You know that bogus story about toilets flushing in different directions depending on whether you’re above or below the equator? This stems from the same basis, but it’s actually true. 
Polar forces guiding towards the equator and the poles then create a boundary current, and in the case of the Northern Atlantic Gyre, this is the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream’s current is initially directed by trade winds coming from Africa, until it smashes into the North American coastline and gets forced northward
This action is what brings the warmer currents up into Europe. It affects all of Britain in this way, but Cornwall is a particularly prominent example. The latitude of Cornwall means that it catches a warmer part of the Gulf Stream than the rest of the UK, which is why it is far and away the warmest region, and has a markedly different range of flora and fauna, including palm trees. At the most extreme south-westerly point (and the Isles of Scilly), Cornwall’s climate actually becomes sub-tropical
In a more historical context, the Gulf Stream actually played an instrumental role in the colonisation of the Americas. Once it had been discovered (but as yet unnamed), shipping routes from Europe to North and South America were planned in a such a way that they could take advantage of the strong currents, despite needing to take a 2000-3000 mile longer route to do so. 
It was actually Benjamin Franklin who finally put a name to the Gulf Stream when he mapped it in 1770. He had noticed that it took postal ships longer to reach New York from England than it took merchant ships to reach Rhode Island, and was told that those merchant ships cross the current, whereas the postal ships ran against it. Knowing this, Franklin worked with a group of whalers (including his cousin, Timothy Folger) to chart and map the Gulf Stream.
Has climate change had any impact on the Gulf Stream though? Sadly, it has. In 2011 alone, the core point of the Gulf Stream moved 125 miles north. More significantly, the cold water flow that helps drive the Gulf Steam has been steadily decreasing for the past 60 years or so, and if this keeps up, the stream will more than likely start to slow. This will likely lead a temperature increase across much of Europe and elsewhere.


Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop.

The Best Diving Spots: Europe Edition

There’s no better way to experience the aquatic world than diving. The relaxing comfort of being able to breathe underwater, the beautiful silence, the feeling of being carried by the current and the uncanny insight into a world which humans can’t usually venture into. The ocean covers more than 70% of the planet, and bearing that in mind, your options for diving locations are nothing if not broad.

Opinions on what makes a great diving spot will always be mixed, different people look for different things, but ultimately everyone’s just out to have an amazing subaquatic experience, and we think these 5 spots all scratch that itch.
Eddystone Reef – England

You would think that finding an amazing, vibrant coral to explore would take you far outside of the British Isles, or at least away from England, but you’d be wrong. The Eddystone is only 12 miles out of Plymouth, marked by the lighthouse which towers above its infamously perilous territory. Even before it was haunted by U boats during the Second World War, this little stretch of the English Channel was a notorious ship killer, and that’s part of what makes it such a memorable dive.

From 7 metres to around 60 the reef is absolutely teeming with life, particularly crustaceans, as well as various species of urchins and anemones. Pollack and wrasse are also in abundance. As long you’re careful to avoid the areas savaged by the strong currents, this is an essential trip for divers at any level.
Madierense – Portugal
For all the allure of the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto, the Portuguese island of Madeira is often overlooked, but it most certainly shouldn’t be, especially as far as diving is concerned. In 2000, the retired Madierense cruise liner was sunk about a mile off the coast and some 34 meters below the surface to provide a framework for a reef to develop. Now, 16 years later, it’s paid off and then some. 
The new reef has become a fertile hunting ground, playing host to barracuda, tuna, jacks, bream and although it’s unclear if he’s still there, there was at one point a massive grouper nicknamed Beiçolas (Big Lips) who would happily follow divers around the wreck. Arrive at the right time though, and you’ll be treated to a display unlike any other. Massive manta rays and devil rays frequent the site from time to time, and seeing them perform their majestic dances across the water is nothing short of life-changing.
Blue Hole – Gozo

This is, as the name suggests, a big blue hole. You start in water too shallow to even swim in, and then drop through a huge hollow into the depths, before going through another giant archway which leads out into the open sea. If you stick to the reef wall there are a number of different swim-throughs to explore where you can see spiny lobster, octopi, moray eels and grouper.
Head further out though and the life is even more abundant, all the way down to about 40 meters. The visibility is typically excellent; it feels like being on the edge of the world. If you’re lucky you might even catch sight of some of the cuttlefish which live in the area, one of the most intelligent molluscs on the planet, and if they catch sight of you they may well provide a demonstration of their incredible colour changing abilities.
Strýtan – Iceland
The Eyjafjörður is the longest fjord in Iceland, and is reputed to be one of the most incredible sights in the country even before you get beneath the water. Right in the middle, at around 70 meters deep, there’s a geothermal spring that’s been belching hot water up from below for more than 11,000 years. A 55 meter tall limestone chimney has formed around it, creating the beacon which guides divers to this amazing spot.
There are two main areas to dive here, the big Strýtan and the little Strýtan. The latter is shallower, and riddled with smaller chimneys, meaning it has a remarkably high density of marine life, like rays and wolf fish. During the summer some dive groups take guillemot eggs down with them and boil them over the chimneys to eat back up at the surface.
Turtle Island – Greece
If you’re happy to do a bit of boating to get to this magical island at a very particular time of year, you’ll be in for one of the most amazing displays that Greek diving has to offer. The reef is bustling with life all year round, but at certain points in the year loggerhead turtles return to the island to spawn. You can sit on the beach and watch them drag themselves ashore to lay, or jump in the water with them.
The reef cuts a wide perimeter around the area, and the calm water and relatively shallow depth make it a good dive for beginners. The water is best from May to September, 20 degrees or just above is the typical average. 

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

Water on Faraway Worlds

Water is a fundamental ingredient needed to create life on Earth. Without it, it would be another arid, lifeless planet, hurtling around its native star devoid of trees, birds, beasts or Taco Bells. As such, it stands to reason that when we look outward, trying to figure out which planets are the most likely to be able to support life, water is one of the first things we search for. As yet, there are 4 worlds which we know for a fact have water, all of them within our solar system, and then there are more, far further off, that we’re at least reasonably sure have it. In this article, we’ll be looking at them.
Gliese 667 Cc – Distance from the Sun: 23.6 Light Years
Artist’s Impression
 Discovered in 2011 in the Scorpius constellation, Gliese 667 Cc runs a narrow 28 day orbit around its parent star – Gliese 667 C, which makes up one third of a triple star solar system. It is thought that Cc receives around 90% of the sunlight that Earth gets, but as most of this is infrared, a huge amount of the energy is likely stored by the planet. In this sense, it has a high potential to have a very similar atmospheric makeup to Earth, if a little bit warmer. Three other planets in the Gliese system are thought to be in the habitable zone.
Tau Ceti f – Distance from the Sun: 11.9 Light Years
Artist’s Impression
 Tau Ceti holds the distinction of being the nearest system to ours thought to harbour habitable worlds. It was originally though that Tau Ceti e was the front runner, but recent data has suggested that it’s just barely in the habitable zone. F, however, seems more promising, even if it’s only been within the right orbit distance for less than 1 billion years. This means that if there’s any pre-existing life on Tau Ceti f, it probably still exists on a very simplistic level, but what will it likely reside in? You guessed it, water.
Gliese 1214 b – Distance from the Sun: 42 Light Years
Artist’s Impression – Souce: pics-about-space.com
1214 b is a super-Earth, meaning that it’s larger than Earth, but not large enough to be a gas giant. It’s one of only a handful of such known worlds, and it is in many other respects unique. It’s 2.3 times the size of Earth in diameter and almost 7 times heavier. Most significantly though, a huge contingent of its mass appears to be water; it may well be almost entirely coated with ocean, giving it the nickname ‘The Waterworld’. Is it habitable though? Well, maybe, but some pretty major living adjustments would need to be made, especially considering that the equilibrium temperature is thought to be between 120 and 282 °C. We don’t really make sunblock that strong yet.
The Kepler 62 Twins – Distance from the Sun: 1,200 Light Years
Artist’s Impression – Source: misanthropester.com
Since the Kepler probe was launched in 2009, it has verified 1,284 new planets. Of those, 550 could be rocky, Earth-like planets. Two particular points of interest have been Kepler 62e and 62f. Both of them seem to be within the habitable zone, e takes 122 days to orbit and f takes 267. Both of them are super-Earths, but there’s an outside chance that e might actually have a gaseous surface. F, on the other hand, is one of the best hopes for habitability we’ve yet found, and may be at least partially coated with ice, given that it’s the farthest planet from its parent star.
Kepler 186f – Distance from the Sun: 420 Light Years
Artist’s Impression: Source: YouTube
At first glance, Kepler 186 might not seem like an ideal system to support life or water at all, being that its parent star is a red dwarf, and the first 5 orbiting planets are all too close to support liquid water, but f might just be the ideal exception. Red dwarf exoplanets aren’t necessarily uninhabitable, although the probability of tidal locking (one side of the planet facing the star constantly) is high, but this can in turn create a far higher rate of cloud formation, which can balance out the temperature across the whole planet. F is too far away to properly analyse to check the atmospheric composition, but supposing its atmosphere has a primarily nitrogen/oxygen composition (which is likely), the surface temperature would be right for liquid water to form.

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

Tips for Saving Water During a Hosepipe Ban


Hosepipe bans are almost commonplace as a water saving measure during the summer now, and at much as it makes perfect sense, it can be a bit of a pain. You don’t necessarily realise how much water you use outdoors in summer until you need to limit it. 
There are so many different water saving products on the market now though that it’s almost overwhelming, and impossible to ignore. Of course, knowing what’s worth investing in and what’s a waste of money is another matter, and there are plenty of other techniques you can employ to save water without actually needing to buy anything. Here are a few of the most effective things you can do to save water.
Get a Water Butt, or Several
This is absolutely essential, even if your garden is miniscule. For the uninitiated, water butts are designed to collect rainwater in large drums, using a drainage system to keep from overflowing. Said rainwater can then be drawn from a spigot at the bottom and used to water plants, wash the car, or pretty much anything else that doesn’t involve you drinking it, or washing yourself with it. They’re remarkably easy to maintain and cheap to buy, there’s just no excuse not to have at least one.
Replace Worn Washers on Drippy Taps
Amazingly, if any of the taps in or outside of your house are leaking, you could be wasting up to a bath-full of water inside of a fortnight. Buying a few cheap washers and replacing the old ones could save you both waste water and money, and it’s a good habit to get into regardless.
Save Water from Indoors for Outdoor Uses
Any time you use water indoors, have something in the sink to catch it, and then you can use it later for watering plants. If you’re washing up, rinsing your hands, vegetables or anything else, there’s no reason to let that water just flow meaninglessly down the drain, there’s nothing wrong with it. You can do the same with bath or shower water, a bit of soap isn’t going to do your plants any harm.
Water Your Plants in the Early Morning or Late Evening
On particularly hot days a lot of water can be lost through evaporation, so watering the plants during the day can be a bit of an exercise in futility. Instead, water them either early or later, when the heat isn’t extreme enough to syphon the water off into the air.
Let Your Lawn Grow Longer
 
Grass can go longer without water than you might expect, but if you cut it extremely short it takes up less and browns much more quickly. It might look a bit more untidy, but if you leave the grass a bit longer, you won’t need to water it anywhere near as often.
Don’t Overwater the Plants
Overwatering is one of the worst things you can do for plant life. Serious overwatering can actually drown plants, but doing it even a little bit too often can cause the roots to grow at a shallower depth. If that happens and then you’re forced to cut back, they will start to dry out that much sooner.

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

The Water Cycle Explained

The fundamental role of the water cycle applies to almost all the water on the planet – evaporation, condensation, precipitation and infiltration. It’s this 4 step process which allows water to carry nutrients from the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers to the land, and then back again. In the simplest terms, the water heats, changes from a liquid to a gas, cools again and returns to liquid form as rain or snow. 
There’s far more to it than that though, each step in the process obeys different rules and fulfils different needs depending on the geography, time of year, and many other contributory factors. For this reason, the easiest way to understand the water cycle in detail is to look at each major step one by one.
Evaporation
This is almost a kind of natural distillation process, caused by a transfer of solar energy into water, causing it to lose density until it changes into a gas, leaving most of the salt and other excess baggage behind. In warmer countries with a lot of coast and standing water, this can result in higher humidity, especially if there’s also a great deal of vegetation. Transpiration from plant life also plays a role in this process, and the two together are known as evapotranspiration.
Condensation
Warm air rises, but the temperature cools at higher altitudes, causing the moisture in the air to thicken again and condense back into liquid. The effect of this is very different depending on when and where it’s happening. It can form into clouds, fog, mist or dew, and certain temperature parameters can change the air pressure, or release energy rapidly. In some cases, this can lead to thunderstorms and hurricanes. If a wind shear catches lower air in the right way, it can set it spinning, and if it’s then caught in a thunderstorm the funnel tilts, drawing up cool, moist air from below. When that happens, a tornado forms.
Precipitation
Once water returns to a liquid state, what went up must come back down again. This largely happens in the form of rain, but it can also be snow, sleet or hail. The density and velocity of the rain is also at the mercy of temperature and air pressure. In hotter areas, dry seasons will be followed by monsoon seasons where all the water taken up during the months of extreme heat comes hammering back down again. Certain types of rain and snowfall are more common in mountainous regions, due to more frequent changes in air density, but 78% of all global precipitation happens over the ocean. There’s another factor – deposition. When it’s very, very cold, water vapour will change to ice without the direct need for precipitation. You’ll have seen it during the winter; coatings of frost on leaves, windows and elsewhere. Some water never actually reaches the ground, instead being intercepted by flora and remaining in the leaves until it evaporates again.
Infiltration
Once the water has reached the ground, provided it made landfall in the first place, gravity takes its place in the process. Being that water is less dense than soil, it is dragged into the earth, or down mountain ranges as runoff (or avalanches) and ultimately goes underground and becomes either soil moisture or groundwater. A few different things can happen at this point, it can either be taken up by roots to nourish plants, flow beneath the ground back to rivers or lakes, or percolate even deeper, ultimately arriving back at the seas and oceans. This process also leads to vast underground wells, springs and caves. Particularly in the latter case, groundwater can erode limestone and create vast ‘karst’ landscapes made up of gaping caverns and sinkholes. In Ireland, this process has led to the formation of turloughs, lakes which completely vanish and reappear at intervals, with water sinking into a swallowhole only to emerge in a spring elsewhere. 

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

Surfing for Beginners: Required Equipment

For anyone seeking to start out on the waves, ensuring you have the right equipment at your disposal is vital. Simple things like the wrong size board will make things difficult, and could turn you off the experience altogether. So, before you get started, here’s a little run down of everything you need to consider.

Surfboard
For beginners, a larger board is recommended, typically at least 8’, although many would recommend a board size of around 9’6” for those just starting out (drop that down to around 6’ for children). If you can, try to get hold of a foam board (referred to as ‘foamies’) as the extra buoyancy will allow a beginner to catch the waves easily, while the larger surface area will help with balance. The foam will also help to cushion the blow a bit when you inevitably take a knock, being that it’s your first time out. The downside? For those surfing regularly, these soft boards don’t excel in durability. Still, they’re usually regarded as the best option for casual surfers just getting their sea legs.
Wetsuit/Board Shorts
Your choice here will depend heavily on the water temperature. In summer months/warm waters, you will likely be fine with a pair of board shorts, but not many people can chase the sun all year in the name of catching a few waves. For most, surfing year round means investing in a decent wetsuit. Generally made of neoprene, wetsuits range between 2-6mm in thickness. Obviously, the thicker it is the warmer it will be. For winter surfing in England, for example, a thickness of 3-5mm is recommended. You should also ensure that you get a tight fit, or you’ll get a shock when the cold water gets in.
Surfboard Leash
For those new to surfing, this one may not be immediately obvious. The surfboard leash (otherwise known simply as a leg rope) does exactly what it sounds like, it attaches your board to you so it doesn’t get too far away when you wipe out, which is useful for a number of reasons. As well as saving you time when you do come off your board, as it can’t drift too far away, the leash also plays an important role in safety. Being attached to your board in such a way will help to prevent it from washing up on rocks or other hazards, which could prove costly, and the board will also act as a safety stop, remaining on the surface with you attached. It’s not just your own safety you have to worry about, however. Being leashed will keep your board under control, limiting the potential hazard to other surfers, swimmers or anyone else sharing the same stretch of water.
Surf Wax/Traction Pad
It’s largely down to your own choice whether you go for surf wax or a traction pad (also known as a tail pad), as both serve the same purpose. Basically, they add grip to your board. There’s no definitive way to say one is better than the other; asking various surfers will get a mixed bag of responses. Surf wax is applied to the board before you hit the water, localised to where your feet are placed, although some users also like to apply wax to the rails, where the hands grip the board. Traction pads, on the other hand, attach to the board for a more long-term solution. When deciding which to go for you have to weigh up which is more important to you: the time saved by attaching a traction pad rather than applying wax on a regular basis, or the freedom to apply grip to more areas for a more secure hold.

Sam Bonson
Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.

Water Filtration: How Does it Work?

All the water on our planet follows the same cycle, some aspects of it vary depending on where the water is, but the basic process is the same – evaporation, condensation, precipitation and infiltration. This process is what keeps our planet alive, to some degree. The water carries nutrients from the sea to the land, and vice versa.

When you start to think about drinking it, however, this brings problems. Water picks up an awful lot of extra baggage when this happens, and most of it would likely play havoc with our soft, fragile digestive systems. This is why, after years of dysentery, typhoid and cholera, people started to develop methods of cleaning the water before it reaches our mouths.
This started in the 17th century, when Francis Bacon attempted to remove the salt from seawater using a rudimentary sand filter. It didn’t work, and it wasn’t until 1804 that their use became more widespread. The original ‘slow’ sand filters worked by allowing a ‘biofilm’ to form over the top of a layer of sand, and as the water passes through it, contaminants are absorbed by the various different kinds of bacteria, protozoa and fungi present in the biofilm. Slow sand filters are typically vast underground chambers, with the water fed in through a piping system.
Although science leapt forward dramatically since slow sand filters first appeared, they are still used in many parts of the world due to their low energy requirements. Even in urban centres like London and Warsaw, they still exist. There are two other main forms of sand filtration now – gravity and upflow – both of which require chemical aids in order to work. Whilst sand filtration is still used all over the world, a number of other methods of water filtration have been developed. There are four main types, which are as follows:
Reverse Osmosis
Img source: pentair.com

Much like sand filtration, reverse osmosis means pushing the water through a membrane which will pull all the nasty stuff out and leave you with something which is safe to drink. Osmosis is the process of separating a concentrated solution from a less concentrated one though a membrane, with the end result being that both solutions have the same concentration.

Reverse osmosis simply moves in the opposite direction, with the membrane serving to reduce concentration, rather than even it out. The key difference between this process and sand filtration is that you need to apply pressure to force the water through, which means you need power. Reverse osmosis pumps use up a lot of power and create a lot of waste water, so they’re not massively prevalent.
Activated Carbon
This is the most common household type of water filtration. Activated carbon granules are created by burning wood in a low oxygen environment. This makes the granules far more porous than they would otherwise be, and have lot of nooks and crannies which can trap the molecules you want to remove from water before you drink it.
This is fine for chemical contaminants, including the trace amounts of chlorine often present after waste-water is purified, but anything ‘hard’ like limescale is a problem, as is sodium, fluorine and a few other things. Activated carbon filters also wear out quite quickly.
Distillation
This is a comparatively basic, but effective process of filtering water. Boiling water will naturally remove a lot of the unwanted material, but evaporating it and allowing it to condense into liquid again will remove even more. Distillation is often used in chemistry to test how certain compounds react when they change state.
This process is particularly good for removing heavy metals from water, as they have a higher boiling point than the water, meaning that as the water evaporates, they get left behind. Anything with a lower boiling point, however, sticks around. A lot of heat is also required to distil water, which obviously means a lot of energy usage.
Ion Exchange
This process involves splitting atoms into ions, which are then trapped and replaced by non-contaminating ions. If that sounds heinously complicated, it’s because it is. Ion exchange filters contain zeolite beads, crystals made up from sodium, silicon and oxygen which have cavities in which molecules can be caught inside. In this instance, they contain sodium ions, which attract magnesium and calcium ions after they’ve been split, replacing them with the sodium ones.
This kind of ‘soft water’ process is used in dishwashers to reduce limescale build up, since it is carbon based, and is also used in some cases for drinking water, but it’s worth bearing in mind that sodium is still a form of contaminant so the process isn’t exactly 100% clean. The sodium ions also have to be replaced fairly often.

As you might have noticed, all these forms of filtration are good at removing certain things, but not others, which is why many systems operate using a combination of two or more, to maximise effectiveness. In truth, tap water in many developed countries is of a far higher standard than it used to be, so mass water filtration is more important in places where there’s less money or resources to actually do it. A lot of work is being done in Africa to find solutions to this problem, as many waterborne diseases are still rampant there. Elsewhere though, many have argued that bottled water is not only needless, but environmentally unsound.


Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

The Science of the Dead Sea Explained

What is it exactly that makes the Dead Sea ‘dead’? Anyone who travels to Jordan or Israel will likely have the coast earmarked as a place to visit, so that they can try their hand at floating effortlessly on the surface. It holds the record as Earth’s lowest elevation on land, and it’s 9.6 times as salty as the ocean’s average, and the subsequent lack of life is what gives it its name.

The high quantity of salt is the result of the sea’s geographical nature. Unlike other seas, the Dead Sea has no outflow, its only tributary is the Jordan River, so the salt is trapped and thereby never decreases. There is some life, but it’s almost entirely on a cellular level; the water is too salty to support anything more complex.
That being said, recent research uncovered a series of craters on the seabed, around 33 meters wide apiece, which spew fresh water up towards the surface. Each one is covered with a filmy mat of bacterial life forms, previously undiscovered. Many other microbes thrive in the Dead Sea due to a high concentration of magnesium in the water.
The salt is also what causes the increased buoyancy; it will literally hold you at the surface. This also results in many pronounced health benefits. The high salinity, for example, is extremely helpful for sinusitis sufferers, as the water can be used for nasal irrigation. Dead Sea mud can be used to treat various aches and pains, as well as having numerous dermatological benefits due to its mineral content. Perhaps most interestingly, sunbathing in or around the Dead Sea can be good for psoriasis, because of the low elevation and cloud cover tempering the UV rays. On the flip side, swallowing Dead Sea water is something you want to be very wary of, doing so can result in inflation of the larynx, and getting it in your eyes leads to burning and in severe cases, blindness.
There’s one particular phenomenon that’s as fascinating as it is rare. The last time it happened was in 1980, during a particularly rainy winter – the Dead Sea turned red. This was due to an increase in fresh water changing the salt content, enabling the red pigmented hablobacteria to consume far greater amounts of algae not normally present in the water. The massive bloom in bacterial numbers caused the change in pigment, and led to some of the most amazing images of the sea ever taken. It hasn’t happened again since as the conditions likely have to be very specific.
Another slightly more worrying recent occurrence has been the opening of new, gaping chasms along the banks. The reason? The Dead Sea is actually receding at a rate of around 1 metre a year, largely because the Jordan River is being diverted, but also because of mineral mining across the southern coast. As fresh groundwater wells up, layers of salt are absorbed and subterranean cavities form. If they get big enough, the ground gives way, sometimes very suddenly. It’s almost impossible to predict when the holes will open up, and only vague estimates can be made as to where, although the Jordan Rift Valley has seen many of them, since it sits on a fault line. Plans are being put in motion to create a conduit between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea to alleviate this problem.

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop.