The best explanation I found so far is this:

These salts (magnesium, potassium, sodium, etc.) are responsible for the "greasy" feel of the water.

But it doesn’t say which salts exactly are responsible, and why it feels so different from seawater.

  • $\begingroup$ Indeed. Concentrated mineral solutions are often even sold as "oils" (e.g., here, even though there's no actual oil present: "Though applied in a manner similar to beneficial natural oils, magnesium oil in its composition is actually a highly concentrated solution of magnesium chloride in water." I'm curious about this too! $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Nov 18 '17 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ Might be due to very low surface tension. I think we might be more "wetable" in Dead Sea than in sweet water. But I must admit I feel more greasy water while bathing in lake as compared to Mediterranean Sea. Perhaps both are true. In the last case greasy should be due to the organic content. ... $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Nov 18 '17 at 14:21
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @Alchimista The surface tension of salt solutions is regularly higher than pure water $\endgroup$
    – aventurin
    Nov 18 '17 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps it has nothing or little to do. I regularly feel bathroom pipe water more " greasy" than sea water so I thought is our "wetabiliy" involved. $\endgroup$
    – Alchimista
    Nov 18 '17 at 21:31

I don't know what you mean by the term "greasy", but here's a possible explanation:

When Dead Sea water evaporates on skin, then salts will precipitate when their maximum solubility is reached.

The mixture of tiny salt crystals formed, and water might be responsible for a greasy sensation.


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