Explorers find snake pit at the bottom of 367-foot well

NDTV – A team of Omani cavers has made what is believed to be the first descent to the bottom of Yemen’s fabled Well of Barhout – a natural wonder shunned by many locals, who believe it is a prison for genies.

The forbidding well, whose dark, round aperture creates a 30-metre-wide hole in the desert floor of Yemen’s eastern province of Al-Mahra, plunges approximately 112 metres below the surface and, according to some accounts, gives off strange odours. Inside, the Oman Cave Exploration Team (OCET) found snakes, dead animals and cave pearls – but no signs of the supernatural.

“There were snakes, but they won’t bother you unless you bother them,” Geology Professor Mohammed al-Kindi at the German University of Technology in Oman, told AFP.

Kindi was among eight experienced cavers who rappelled down last week, while two colleagues remained at the surface.

“Passion drove us to do this, and we felt that this is something that will reveal a new wonder and part of Yemeni history,” said Kindi, who also owns a mining and petroleum consultancy firm.

“We collected samples of water, rocks, soil and some dead animals but have yet to have them analysed,” he said, adding that a report will soon be made public.

“There were dead birds, which does create some bad odours, but there was no overwhelming bad smell.” Yemeni officials told AFP in June that they did not know what lay in the depths of the pit, which they estimated to be “millions and millions” of years old, adding that they had never reached the bottom.

A caver abseiling down the Barhout well. PHOTO: AFP