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Image Caption: STS41G-120-0056 Dead Sea Rift Valley, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan October 1984
Seen from an altitude of 190 nautical miles (350 kilometers) in this near-vertical photograph, the Dead Sea Rift Valley slices south-north through the Middle East. The surface of the Dead Sea, 1292 feet (394 meters) below sea level, is the lowest point on Earth and is a continuation of the East African Rift through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. Rift faulting connects the Dead Sea with the Jordan River Valley and through the Sea of Galilee; however, northward in Lebanon the rifting splays out into a series of north-northeast trending faults. East of the rift are two large ancient lava fields about which little is known. Close to the southwestern edge of the photograph, the Gaza Strip can be seen near the border between Egypt and Israel.