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101 caves documented in last five years

11 Jul 2020 By MOHAMMED TAHA

A group of speleologists has discovered a new cave in the western part of Jabal al Kour in Wilayat of Ibri, in Dhahirah Governorate, adding to the number of new caves discovered in the recent past. Spread over 300m, the cave is distinctive for having two pools of water and several waterfalls, making it a source for a perennial falaj.

The cave was discovered as part of the pioneering efforts of the Omani Caves Exploration Team (OCET) which, in last five years, has explored and documented more than hundred caves in the sultanate.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Dr Mohammed al Kindi, a geologist and one of the team members of OCET, said, “This cave is the source of a falaj for Al Mays village in Ibri, that is the reason we have named it Al Mays Cave. Located in the western part of Jabal al Kour, its length is about 300m. Explorers must exercise caution before entering it as it is divided in two parts and both contain fresh water pools.”

The first part of the cave ends with a waterfall followed by a water pond. “Exploring the cave after this point requires diving for several metres, with a large water flow coming from inside the cave, making the dive really challenging,” he said, adding, “The second part of the cave ends with a deep water pool as well. It is one of the distinctive caves in the sultanate due to the abundance of water.”

Al Mays Cave is connected to a large deep cave located at the top of Jabal al Kour known as the Wing Cave. “When it rains in Jabal al Kour, the water flows into the Wing Cave, coming out of Mays Cave several hours later,” Dr Kindi explained.

About the team’s goals, Dr Kindi said that it aims to explore caves spread across Oman and document them. “Our team calculates the age of cave deposits and the level of water in the ponds. It is a scientific process where we try to learn the age of the cave and the different changes it went through by looking at its deposits as well as the soil inside.”

About the group’s future initiatives, Dr Kindi said that they are in the process of publishing a book soon on their research work. “We added this new discovery to our book. Our team took five years to register over 101 caves from different governorates of the sultanate. The book is in English and Arabic. The team used 3D instruments and traditional methods to measure the dimensions of caves. The book tries to touch on important aspects of caves in each geological era. Some of the questions addressed include what tectonics affected these caves, what organisms lived there and how climate and life developed. We took samples of water and soil from these caves to see the different age patterns that the caves went through.”

“Effort has also been made to collect all the stories and myths related to these caves. It is expected to be an informative source for adventure tourists,” Dr Kindi concluded.

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