Israel’s Grand Canyon

April 26th 2017

The Grand Canyon is a breathtaking geological wonder that few can walk away from unmoved. While our pint-sized country couldn’t house such an enormous landmark (the Grand Canyon is roughly a quarter of the size of the entire Israel!), the Holy Land has a remarkable canyon of its own, and we think it’s pretty amazing. The next time you are visiting Israel, be sure to stop by the Ramon Crater, and here’s why.

Ramon Crater & Its Surroundings

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Known in Hebrew as Maktesh Ramon, this crater can be found in the Negev region of Israel. Measuring 40 km long and 500 meters deep, the Ramon Crater is poetically known as being formed in the shape of a heart. A small settlement known as Mitzpeh Ramon (or the Ramon Observation Point) is the only town in the area. Instead of a large human population, the area has attracted many wildlife varieties such as ibex and onagers and has today become the country’s largest national park.

How it All Began

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The most fascinating thing about the Ramon Crater is the way it was formed. Most gaping holes in the Earth’s surface are due to some sort of external force presenting itself. A meteor colliding with the Earth, for example, will create a crater with a large valley surrounding it. A volcanic eruption is another common cause.

But these natural phenomena did not occur in this area, which is why scientists are so amazed by this formation. The Ramon Crater is said to have been formed by water and climate forces only. Once covered by an ocean, the area slowly developed into a valley with hills flanking it, and then continued to deepen at the base until it became the crater we have today. Each stage revealed more layers of ancient rock, and today the deepest rocks are said to be 200 million years old.

Points of Interest

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While it might not be comparable in size to the Grand Canyon, the Ramon Crater blows other formations out of the water with a fascinating geological smorgasbord. From red and yellow clay hills to basalt covered limestone, stunning spiral ammonite fossils, and polygonal prismatic columns of quartzite, the area is filled with magnificent mountains each with its own unique blend of rock formation. It’s truly a wonder to behold it all.

Next time you’re on this side of the ocean, make sure to see the Ramon Crater. It’s a fabulous piece of nature you don’t want to miss.