Tayq Cave sinkhole

One of the most astounding events during the Cyclone Mekunu in Dhofar Oman has been the complete filling of the vast Tayq Cave sinkhole.

Tayq Cave - sinkhole in its normal state
Tayq Cave – sinkhole in its normal state

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 - sinkhole fully filled after Cyclone Mekunu
Tayq Cave – sinkhole fully filled after Cyclone Mekunu

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.

Tayq Cave Sinkhole by Ahmed Al Toqi
Tayq Cave Sinkhole by Ahmed Al Toqi

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?

Teyq Cave as on 1st June by Ahmed Al Toqi
Teyq Cave as on 1st June by Ahmed Al Toqi

My rewrite of the Bradt Guide to Oman includes Tayq Cave – sinkhole on page 308 Tawi Atayr which is the location of the famous eponymous ‘well of birds’ sinkhole from page 307. The guide is available in eBook here and paperback through Amazon worldwide here.

Oman Guide Book by Tony Walsh
Bradt Guide to Oman

Author: Tony Walsh

Book author including the current Bradt guide to Oman – edition 4