Cavers Reached the Bottom of an Ancient ‘Well of Hell’ For the First Time

If you have ever heard the rumors swirling around about the Well of Barhout, also known as the Well of Hell, you’ll be surprised to learn that a team of some pretty brave explorers have managed to go all the way to its bottom!

This September, for the first time in history, cavers managed to descend to the bottom of this giant hole in the desert, a place where no one has ever ventured before.

Earlier this year, cave explorers from Oman became the first people ever to descend 376 feet to the bottom of the Well of Hell sinkhole in Yemen.

The main reason why no one has ever decided to do it before was the spine-chilling myths that surround it.

According to locals, the pit is loaded with trapped genies and it is the gateway to the underworld.

Many are frightened to come close to it as well, as they believe that it can suck nearby objects into it.

One of the cavers, Mohammed al-Kindi, said:

 “Some say it is where apostates and non-believers are tortured after death. Others believe that their heads would be severed once they’re down there.” 

Yet, one can easily understand why the sinkhole is surrounded by so many horrible legends.

Namely, it is extremely deep, and at the same time, it is perfectly circular.

Moreover, it is located in the middle of the desert, and although no one knows the exact age of the Well of Hell, scientists estimate it is likely millions of years old.

However, the team of brave spelunkers, called the Omani Caves Exploration Team (OCET), decided to put all these rumors to rest once for all.

They even took a video of their adventure in the pit!

They used a pulley system to lower eight of the team members into the depths of the cave while two team members stayed above.

Kindi, also a geology professor at the German University of Technology in Oman, explained that passion was the driving force behind the adventure:

 “We felt that this is something that will reveal a new wonder and part of Yemeni history.” 

So, what did they discover out there?

Well, at least from a perspective of a caver, nothing out of the ordinary.

There were no genies, nor doors to Hell!

They found snakes, cave pearls, waterfalls, dead animals, and stalagmites.

They discovered that the water begins to appear through cracks in the walls at about 213 feet below the surface, and they create the small waterfalls that in turn create the stalagmites and cave pearls on the sinkhole’s jagged floor.

They found various types of beetles and frogs, apart from snakes, numerous dead animals, mostly birds, who have fallen into the pit and then died there.

The smell of these dead bodies explains why some locals reported they felt strange smells wafting out of the hole from time to time.

The cavers collected samples of the rocks, water, soil, and dead animals to study and discover more information about the cave.

The explorers even bottled up the water and drank it, to no poor consequences, as they reported.

The cavers discovered odd, almost transparent snakes and cave pearls while exploring the cave.


The primary two types of sinkholes are collapse sinkholes and subsidence ones. Collapse sinkholes form when the bedrock beneath the surface expands. Over time, as there is nothing left to support the surface ground it falls into the bottom of the sinkhole. The latter form due to surface sediments slowly trickling down into small spaces below the surface. This eventually leads to depression or a sinkhole.

The age of a sinkhole, as well as the way it was formed, is impossible to determine unless there are eyewitnesses who record it.

Therefore, scientists nowadays have no way to ever find out the answer to these questions in the case of this 30-foot-wide hole.