|Location:||Between Mirbat and Salalah, north of the coast, Qara Mountains, Governorate of Dhofar.|
|Classification:||Doline or sink|
|Dimension:||L=1,000m, W=500m, D=250, average depth: 175-200m|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.|
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|Last update:||$Date: 2015/08/30 21:57:01 $|
This is a huge depression on the karst plateau of the Qara Mountains, which is either called Teeq Sinkhole or Teeq Cave. Its difficult to write Arabic words in Latin characters, so there are numerous transliterations for this name. We use Teeq, while there are also Taiq, Tayq, and Tahik. At the end of two large wadis, one from the north and one from the east, lies a huge, almost oval depression. The surrounding hills are more than 1,000m asl, the floor of the huge bowl is around 740m asl. Its long axis, from east to west, is almost 1,000m long, the width is about 500m.
The Teeq Sinkhole is developed for tourism, but only in a basic sense. There is a road along the west rim with two parking lots, but there are no shops, no visitor center, not even axplanatory signs. The northern parking lot allows a view into the northern wadi, the southern one is close to the west rim of the bowl. From here two footpaths start, one along the southern rim and another one going down to the floor in serpines below the southern wall. On the floor there are numerous openings, swallow holes, where the water vanishes underground. The wadis are dry most of the time, but during one of the rare but heavy rains enormous amounts of water flow from two sides into the cave system.
It is difficult to say how such a huge structure was formed. It is not simply the result of erosion like a wadi. Even as a place where two wadis meet, it is far too big for this explanation. The "official" explanation is the collapse of a huge undergound chamber. This is possible but rather unlikely, but actually we do not know how it was formed. Probably it started with one or several collapses, and the resulting depresion was further widened by the water from the wadis. Collapses have happened around the sinkhole, but they are much smaller. The vertikal walls on some sides are a sign for a collapse, erosion would produce a wide bowl. Probably the ground water was once much higher, for example during the more humid climate of the last Ice Age. At this time the water flowing into the sinkhole could have formed a lake which would dissolve the limestone at its ground and walls. And there is the possible collapse of more than one layer of caves.
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