In the early records of the Pentateuch, the country is often referred to by the name of Seir, the general name for the whole range of mountains on the east side of the Jordan-Araba depression south of the Dead Sea.
By the constant westward pressure of the eastern Arabs, which (after the restraining force of the great Mesopotamian kingdoms was weakened) assumed irresistible strength, the ancient Edomites were forced across the Jordan-Araba depression, and with their name migrated to the south of western Palestine.
The best known of these Graben is that of the Jordan, but the upper part of the Orontes lies in a similar depression, which is, indeed, very probably the continuation of the Jordan-Araba trough.
Like the Dead Sea it is a "rift" lake, being part of the great fault that formed the Jordan-Araba depression.
They are generally concealed by later deposits, but are exposed to view along the eastern margin of the Wadi Araba, at the foot of the plateau of Edom.
Of Recent deposits the most interesting are the raised beaches near the coast and the terraces of the Jordan-Araba depression.
Shrinkage caused the pelagic limestone bottom to be upheaved in two ridges, between which occurred a long fracture, which can now be traced from Coelesyria down the Wadi Araba to the Gulf of Akaba.