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HARRAT KHAYBAR
RECONNAISSANCE


Text and :Photos  2014 by D. Jenkins unless otherwise indicated. 

KHAYBAR PHOTO GALLERY

Cave entrance on SW flow of Jebel Qiddr
Entrance to a lava tube on the southwest flow of Jebel Qidr.

houses of ancient Khaybar
The ruins of Khaybar


Bones in Umm Jirsan Cave
Cache of bones in Umm Jirsan Cave


Khaybar Fortress
Khaybar Fortress


Crystals seen on the ceiling of Umm Jirsan Cave
Crystals seen on the ceiling of Umm Jirsan Cave


Inside a lava tube in the Qidr flow
Inside a lava tube in the Qidr flow


Fresh animal droppings inside Umm Jirsan Cave
Fresh animal droppings inside Umm Jirsan Cave

Jebel Qidr
Dave Jenkins on his way up Jebel Qidr


East entrance to Jirsan Cave
East entrance to Jirsan Cave


Unknown white flaky substance inside Qidr lava tube
Unknown white flaky substance inside Qidr lava tube

Lava Caves on Southwest flow of Jebel Qidr
Lava Cave entrance on Southwest flow of Jebel Qidr

 

Multiple Lava Tubes Found on Jebel Qidr


David Jenkins, who has worked for Saudi Aramco project management at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) the past two years, and David Ketcheson, a 5-year  professor of applied math at KAUST (both American), ventured throughout Harrat Khaybar on 24-26 April  2014. Here is Jenkins' report on the expedition. The findings of the two Davids include the first known photos taken inside lava tubes on the slopes of Jebel Qidr. It is supposed that Qidr erupted around 300 years ago, making its lava caves the youngest on the Arabian Peninsula. During a short visit to Qidr by helicopter, Saudi Volcanologist John Roobol, found long, spindly lava stalactites in a lava tube which so far has not been relocated.  John Pint


Lava Cave on SW flow of Jebel QidrNear the end of April, 2014, we
took a quick weekend reconnaissance trip up to Harrat Khaybar.  We climbed Jebel Qidr and found multiple lava tubes on the south-eastern slopes, many big enough to crouch & walk through.  There wasn't a lot in them, besides piles of a flaky white substance in which we could see a number of marble size chunks.  I'm not sure if it is some type of mineral, or perhaps baked bird-dung.  


Abyad and Bayda

Jebels Abyad and Bayda, seen from the top of Qidr

We attempted to find a road north to Rumahah Cave from the paved road that runs just north of Jebel Qidr, but the roads we found were too rugged, and we didn't have the time (or extra spare tire), to make the attempt.

On our way to Umm Jirsan Cave, we blew out the side wall of a tire, and swapped it out for our only spare, so we left the car, and hiked the rest of the way to Jirsan.  We got their at dusk, and traversed all the sections at nightfall.  We found multiple bone caches, as well as some small fresh dung, and many prints, that looked the size of those made by desert foxes.  As far as the bones go, most appeared to be camel bones, but there was also a skull of what looked like a desert fox, and lots of smaller limbs that we couldn't readily identify. 

Camel Spider - Photo by John Pint, Saudicaves.comThat night, while being extra cautious driving the car back to the paved road, we came across a camel spider in our headlights, that was roughly 2-3 times the size of a tarantula.  He moved remarkably fast, and would turn and attack momentarily, and then continue his run while we tried to photograph it.

The next morning We explored the ancient Fort & abandoned city, just Northwest of Khaybar, and then the Dam just to the south.

Ancient dam which captured runoff from Harrat Khaybar

Ancient Khaybar Dam, which captured runoff from Harrat Khaybar




Overall, a great trip, especially for doing it all in one weekend.  However, we're planning our return to hopefully hit Rumahah Cave,  Quradi Cave, and the petroglyphs at Shwaymis, as well as to climb Jebel Abyad. 

Dave Jenkins

On top of Jebel Qidr

The Two Davids On Top of Jebel Qidr



 
 
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