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Lynch, William (1806–1865)

  • By: Thomas John O'Loughlin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

William Francis Lynch was an officer of the U.S. Navy who, in 1848, led the first successful expedition to explore and map the Dead Sea and established, for the first time, the depth of its surface below sea level.

Curiosity about the Dead Sea can be traced back to our earliest written sources for the region. Stories to explain the landscape and its bizarre mineral features found their way into the Bible (Genesis 19) in the form of the story of the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, located in the valley that is now the Dead Sea. And while the many visitors to the Holy Land often showed great curiosity about this lake, the legend grew that one could not enter it and ...

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