Ramon Crater Nature Reserve - A view from our expert author

The spectacularly impressive crater holds claim to being the world’s largest karst erosion cirque.

Negev Desert Ramon Crater Israel by Dafna Tal, IMOTThe barren beauty of the rocky Negev Desert is home to wildlife-filled oases and the vast Ramon Crater © Dafna Tal, IMOT

At 45km long, 8km wide and 500m deep, the Ramon Crater is a vast gash across the Negev Desert. Often referred to internationally by its Hebrew name makhtesh, the crater was formed millions of years ago as the ocean that once covered this part of the desert retreated northwards. Around five million years ago, the Arava Rift Valley was created causing great rivers to divert their course, their powerful flows eroding the land and leaving in their wake a great crater. The black rock throughout the crater is obsidian natural glass, formed by the cooling of volcanic lava. The nature reserve boasts a rich habitat, particularly vultures, which are now considered endangered in Israel, hyenas and ibex.

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