Search
Close this search box.

The Small Crater

Destinations in Israel

The Small Crater (HaMakhtesh HaKatan in Hebrew) is a geological erosional crater in the Negev Desert. One of five erosion Makhtesh in Israel, and seven in the world, it is the third-largest in Israel at 5 km by 7 km. It was charted in 1942 by Jewish explorers. In June 2019, the state announced the transformation of the crater into a nature reserve. In fact, the crater is part of the nature reserves of the Negev and Judean Desert craters and is considered a natural value of global importance due to its geological uniqueness and spectacular beauty. For those that are looking to do some nice sections of the Israel National Trail, this is one of them!





Moreover, it houses a unique ecosystem of flora and fauna such as chamois, raptors and eagles, and various predators. In its location and characteristics, it links a population of chamois from the center of the Negev to the Judean Desert, as well as an essential and rare nesting area for eagles and other endangered birds of prey. In addition, the small crater is known for its colorful stone rock; which varies between white, gray, brown, yellow, red, and purple. The stone colors are due to tiny amounts of iron oxides.


Negev Desert Tour - Ramon Crater View

The Formation of the Crater

So as you know the craters in the Negev are rare! We need several conditions for a crater to form: First, an asymmetrical anticline; different rock layers in the degree of hardness (above hard rock layers, such as limestone or dolomite, and below them soft rock layers). Second, a river with a low base level that drains out the lower layers of the crater. Last, a desert climate (dryness that protects the walls of the crater from weathering).


Ramon-Crater-National-Park-Small-Crater-
In This Photo: Satellite View Of The Small Crater

In the first phase, a layer of sandstones was stratified. Then the Sea of Tethys flooded the area, resulting in the stratification of marine sedimentary rocks – limestone and dolomite – on the soft sandstones. Now about 90 million years ago; geological fold forces began to work in the area. The fold forces operated for about 40 million years and formed the Negev anticlines (ridges formed from the fold of the ground); including the fold that preexisted the crater.


Negev Desert Tour
Negev Desert Tour - Ramon Crater Jeep
In This Photo: You Can Tour The Craters in Israel With 4X4 Jeep Tours

About 30 million years ago, the sea retreated from the Negev region. The recession of the sea exposed the area to terrestrial weathering processes that eroded the heads of the anticlines. The upper layers made of hard limestone were eroded and the soft sandstone inside the arch was exposed. The layer of sandstones quickly eroded and was swept out by a courtyard stream. Removal of the sandstone layer collapsed the hard limestone layers; widened the crater, and created the vertical HaMakhtesh HaKatan walls

arik-about

Hi! My name is Arik, an Israeli native who dedicated his life to sharing my passion for the Holy Land with those interested in knowing more about this incredible piece of land. I’m the Chief Guide at ‘APT Private Tours in Israel’.

Did you know the Hoopoe is Israel's national bird?! For more cool info about Israel, join our ever growing community and get exclusive travel tips, and giveaways!

Modern Settling of the Negev Desert

RELATED POSTS

Gorny Convent – Moscovia Monastery

The Russian Orthodox Gorny Convent, also known as the Moscovia Monastery, is a unique and historic religious site in Jerusalem's heart.

Tel Azekah

Tel Azekah holds a prominent place in the annals of history. This tells a story of an ancient city that witnessed a succession of civilizations, ...

Five Most Beautiful Places in Israel

Do you want to experience Israel like never before? Here is the five most beautiful places in Israel that you have to visit!

Red Canyon

The Red Canyon is located about 20 kilometers north of Eilat west of the road to Eilat at an altitude of 700 meters above sea ...

Tel Dor National Park

Let's Get to know Tel Dor National Park! The park is a unique spot along Israel's shoreline with a breathtaking view and rich history!

Gihon Spring

Join us as we delve into the captivating story of the Gihon Spring and its profound impact on the city's past and present.

Ein Avdat National Park

Not to be confused with Avdat National Park, the archaeological site just down the way, Ein Avdat National Park is a separate national park with ...

Neve Tzedek

Neve Tzedek is a little neighborhood in Tel Aviv you must visit when touring Israel! The little alleys and streets are super inviting to tour

Cave of Elijah

The Cave of Elijah. is an ancient cave, steeped in biblical lore and tradition, holds a special place in the hearts of believers.

Four Sephardic Synagogues

The Four Sephardic Synagogues. are ancient synagogues, dating back centuries, stand as a testament to the rich Sephardic Jewish heritage!

Need help?

Skip to content