One of the most astounding events during the Cyclone Mekunu in Dhofar Oman has been the complete filling of the vast Tayq Cave sinkhole.
This sinkhole is about 3million cubic meters and its now full.
Tayq Cave is in an area of Karst Limestone, whose fractures provide the original ingress to water for the formation of a cave below the surface. Over time the cave enlarges as Limestone can eventually dissolve in water, the reverse happens when Limescale is deposited on water pipes. Over many hundreds of thousands of years if not more, the roof of the cave collapses giving rise in this case to the enormous Tayq Cave sinkhole 1.25km across.
Tayq Cave lies where two wadis meet, Wadi Sharaa to the east and Wadi Thirrat and these are the main sources of water into the sinkhole. The base of Tayq Cave contains a ‘drain’ that is believed to empty via the base of Tawi Atayr, also a sinkhole (8.5kms away), into the Arabian Sea at Qashrawb about 12kms east of Khawr Rawi and 16kms from Tayq Cave. The enormous quantity of water that will exit the cave over an extended period should enable geologists to determine the exit point into the sea.
Updated 1st June – Ahmed Al Toqi has taken an image of the sinkhole a few days after it filled – and it is now completely empty – emptying over about 5days.
The draining system (below centre left in shadow) down to the sea must be exceptionally efficient, or is there a second, even larger chamber under the visible sinkhole?
If you visit Salalah in Dhofar, my fully updated Bradt Guide includes Tayq Cave – sinkhole on page 308, along with the nearby Tawi Atayr which is the location of the famous eponymous ‘well of birds’ sinkhole from page 307.