This is the moment a team of Omani cavers explores a mysterious 30-metre-deep sinkhole in the Yemeni desert known as the Well of Hell, believed to curse anyone who ventures into its underbelly.
The underground cave is found in the eastern Yemeni region of Al Mahrah close to the border with Oman.
Mohammad Al Kindi and a team of local cavers recently went to discover what lies at the bottom of the Well of Barhout, nicknamed the Well of Hell.
The Omani Caves Explorations Team (OCET), working with the Yemen Geological Survey and Mineral Resources Board, studied the huge cave as it is the scene of local folklore and legends.
Al Kindi said: “Some say it is where apostates and non-believers are tortured after death. Others believe that their heads would be severed once they’re down there.
“I was the last one to climb in and the last one to leave. I spent about six hours down there.”
The caver added: “They say that Mecca’s Zamzam Well water is the holiest and purest on earth and that the water from the Well of Hell is the most evil. All we saw was pure freshwater down there. We even drank an entire bottle and nothing happened to us!”
He said that he has always lived in mountainous areas and has been visiting caves since he was a boy.
The team used gas detectors and surveying equipment and learned that the Well of Hell has normal levels of oxygen and the air is poison-free.
However, Al Kindi said there was a large number of snakes in the cave.
He added that one of the most stunning elements in the sinkhole were the ‘cave pearls’ shining through the underground cascades.
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Al Kindi said: “Cave pearls are concentric calcium carbonate deposits that form around nuclei under falling water. These rings are smoothed by the movement of water falling for thousands of years until they form beautiful pearl shapes.”
Due to many years of folklore about the Well of Hell, some Yemenis have claimed to have entered the cave and lived to tell the tale, but Al Kindi said he saw no signs of any human activity at the bottom.
He said he hopes his team’s visit to the bottom will dispel some legends about the cave: “I believe that the Well of Hell, known as Barhout, is a legendary cave assigned to many caves in Yemen. Now that we have gone to Khasfat Foujit, the cave should not be called by any other name than the area it is in.”
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