Sinkholes, contrary to the image conjured by the name, are riveting gifts of nature.
For example, the Bimmah Sinkhole in Oman. With its emerald-green waters and serene surroundings, the sinkhole — which is located some 120km from the Sultanate’s capital of Muscat — draws visitors from across Oman and all over the world.
Tourists who get to see the sinkhole and its pristine waters are more than welcome to descend to the bottom through a concrete staircase that has been erected for just this purpose.
Tourists are also welcome to take a dip inside the sinkhole, which in Arabic is also called Hawiyat Najm (the falling star), because it resembles a crater that is formed due to the impact of an asteroid on the earth’s surface.
“Part of Hawiyat Najm Park, Bimmah Sinkhole is a beautiful attraction along the Muscat – Sur road, perfect for a picnic in the park or even a quick photo-stop,” said the Ministry of Tourism. “Long attributed to a meteorite, this beautiful swimming hole is actually a naturally occurring sinkhole.”
“Sinkholes are often the result of groundwater eating away at rocks like limestone and carbonate. Caverns form as the rocks dissolve, and eventually the ground above caves in, sometimes taking cars, houses, and even the occasional pizza place with it,” added the Ministry.
“In Northern Oman, just off the road between Dibab and Bimmah, there’s a particularly beautiful example of the natural phenomena. In an otherwise flat area, a sinkhole formed about a third of a mile from the sea, resulting in a turquoise mix of fresh and salt water,” they went on to say. “Geologists have confirmed the 65-foot deep pool is in fact a sinkhole, but locals hold on to the legend that a meteorite hit the spot. When the local municipality developed the area into a park to preserve and protect the hole, the name Hawiyat Najm (The Falling Star) Park was chosen.”
“A large concrete staircase sticks out among the natural landscape, but offers a less precarious way down to the picturesque pool. Many folks just go to admire its beauty, or dip their feet in the vividly blue-green water for a fish-administered pedicure of sorts. Still some take full advantage of the salty water, diving from the cliffs within the cavern.”