A team of Omani speleologists became the first to descend in the “Well of Hell“, in the 367 feet (112 meters) deep Yemen desert that local media consider to be a doorway infested with creatures from the underworld.
What is it about
The chasm officially known as the Barhout Well, it has an eerie circular entrance that extends 30 meters in diameter and is located in the middle of the desert in the province of al-Mahra in eastern Yemen, near the border with Oman. Amateur cave explorers had already entered the sinkhole, but until now no one had made it to the bottom. A few days ago, a team of 10 Omani Caves Exploration Team (OCET) explored the Barhout well using a pulley system that lowered eight of the members down while the remaining two remained on top. A small crowd of intrepid onlookers gathered to watch the event, despite local fears surrounding the chasm. “Passion drove us to do this“Mohammed al-Kindi, a professor of geology at the German University of Technology in Oman who was part of the OCET team, told French agency AFP.”And we’ve heard it’s something that will reveal a new wonder and part of Yemen’s history“The explorers also reported having found waterfalls, snakes, dead animals, stalagmites and cave pearls, but it’s no surprise they haven’t found legendary creatures or a gateway to hell.
Myths and legends about the well
The exact age of the Barhout well is currently unknown but, according to theAFP, could be millions of years old. There are numerous myths and legends premises that explain the chasm, most of which describe it as a prison for jinn (Arabic word for genes, such as the genie of the lamp), which consequently causes bad luck. Some people also believe that if you get too close, the chasm can suck people in while still others argue that the hole is a supervolcano capable of destroying the Earth even though there is no scientific evidence to support this. As we read on Livescience, in the past many people have also reported a bad smell rising from the big hole: hence the birth of stories and rumors about the fact that it was a door to hell as its nickname indicates.
What the inside hides
As described by the team of speleologists who descended inside, a kind of irregular and jagged pavement was found covered with stalagmites, some of which reached a height of 9 meters. Some parts of the floor were also covered with “cave pearls”, which are also a type of speleothems, in practice, typical cave structures, such as stalagmites and stalactites, which are formed by the gradual accumulation of minerals such as calcium carbonate due to dripping water. These pearls are rare and can only grow on parts of a cave floor that are completely flat so that the core does not move. From inside the chasm (or sinkhole), the team also found that the water emerges from several holes in the cave walls about 213 feet (65 m) below the surface creating small waterfalls.
The explorers also reported seeing snakes, frogs and beetles as well as several dead animals, mainly birds, which appeared to have fallen into the pit. THE corpses decomposing could have caused the stench reported by the locals, but “there was no overwhelming bad smell“Inside the sinkhole, said one of the cavers. The team took samples that could also reveal more information about the sinkhole and how it formed.”We’ve collected samples of water, rocks, soil, and some dead animals, but haven’t analyzed them yet“, al-Kindi told theAFP. A final report on the exploration of the Barhout Well is expected in the coming weeks.