A panel of experts chose the Dead Sea Tuesday as one of 28 finalists competing in the New 7 Wonders of Nature contest. Voting is now open to the world public until 2011 to chose seven winners.
Only three weeks ago, worldwide voters propelled the famous salty sea onto a list of 77 nominees, which were then considered by the panel of experts. A team of seven ecologists and environmentalists chose the finalists based on criteria including beauty of the site, ecological significance, and historical legacy.
Other finalists include the Angel Falls in Venezuela, the Grand Canyon in the United States, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and the Kilimanjaro mountain in Tanzania.
The Dead Sea is the lowest dry point on Earth, at 420 meters below sea level. In addition, the lake has a salinity level of 30 percent, 8.6 times greater than the ocean.
Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority are jointly supporting the Dead Sea’s nomination in the contest. The PA had originally refused to support the lake, leading to fears it would be disqualified, but last minute pressure from the Tourism Ministry and the Civil Administration convinced PA officials to sign on.
Voting is now open in the contest at www.new7wonders.com.