Al Wahbah Crater – Saudi Arabia - Atlas Obscura

Al Wahbah Crater

This giant volcanic crater holds its very own field of salt. 


Located in middle of an otherwise flat, barren desert, the Al Wahbah Crater is a natural anomaly that would be wondrous enough on its own, but it hides its own salt field in its bowl.

The giant crater was long thought to have been created by an ancient meteor strike, but has been found to have appeared thanks to volcanic activity. It is thought that the crater appeared after a massive underground steam explosion that was caused when a magma flow ran into a subterranean source of water. The resulting eruption would have launched a colossal amount of earth into the air, leaving behind the crater that exists today. At 1.2 miles across and over 800 feet deep, it is an impressive pock mark on the planet.

While giant craters are interesting and lovely on their own, the Al Wahbah Crater also holds a dazzling white salt flat in its depths. The white phosphate plain forms a pattern of beige psychedelia that makes the spot all the more attractive. In addition to the weird salt deposit, the crater is also notable for the green vegetation that grows on and around its rim. While the desert all around the crater is arid and barren, the crater is home to palm trees and shrubs.

In recent years, the Saudi Arabian tourist industry has set their sights on the crater, building roads and markers to the site to make it easier to visit, making it an increasingly popular camping site. That is, until another massive explosion changes the landscape again.        

Know Before You Go

254 km from Taif on the western edge of the Harrat Kishb basalt plateau

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September 25, 2015

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