[meteorite-list] Wabar Crater Under Threat From Vandals

From: Jeff Grossman <jgrossman_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 10:31:21 2004
Message-ID: <>

This story is about the Wahba volcanic crater near Jeddah, not the Wabar
impact site.


At 10:55 PM 2/8/2004 -0700, Michael Farmer wrote:
>This is not true! Waber is 18 hours in the sand dunes, and is small craters,
>not larger than Meteor Crater.
>What crap is this? Anyone elaborate?
>Mike Farmer
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Ron Baalke" <baalke_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>
>To: "Meteorite Mailing List" <meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com>
>Sent: Sunday, February 08, 2004 10:47 PM
>Subject: [meteorite-list] Wabar Crater Under Threat From Vandals
> >
> >
> > http://www.arabnews.com/?page=1&section=0&article=39241&d=9&m=2&y=2004
> >
> > Wabar Crater Under Threat From Vandals
> > Arab News
> > February 9, 2004
> >
> > JEDDAH - Saudi Arabia has 'nothing' to offer the world
> > tourist. Whole deserts full of it. It has captivated the imagination of
> > explorers and visionaries for millennia and it is beginning to lose the
> > quality that makes it special; the absence of everything else.
> >
> > One of Saudi Arabia's greatest geological wonders, essentially a large
> > in the ground, has finally proved too tempting as a rubbish tip. The Wabar
> > Crater is becoming a tourist attraction but is also attracting the
> > of graffiti writers and depositors of garbage.
> >
> > As part of the process of making this tectonic treasure much more
> > and open to all to wonder at, paved roads now lead to the very edge of the
> > rim, affording a stunning view into the now dry lake bed 350 meters below.
> > The crater stretches over 2 km from rim to rim, far bigger than the meteor
> > impact site that is a major tourist attraction in Arizona. On the night of
> > full moon, the pure white salt of the lake bed glows as if lit from
> > throwing a crepuscular glow onto the stark cliffs around.
> >
> > A few meters from the rim, lies a field of black lava, textured with
> > bas-relief ripples and swirls as if still liquid. Moonlight glistens on
> > semi-polished surface of the flows, silvering the furrows and smooth
> > Small caves, the result of huge burst bubbles of superheated steam, lie
> > open, roofs partly collapsed allowing rare views inside the lava mass.
> > Smaller caves and fissures are home to foxes and small mammals, their
> > in the windblown sand betraying their occupancy.
> >
> > The total silence is broken only by the gentle rustle of a blue plastic
> > carrier bag as it tumbles in the night breeze, or the staccato clatter of
> > aluminum can rolled over the cliff by a playful zephyr.
> >
> > The national tourist drive which provided the roads, has also spawned a
> > of startlingly ugly white rectangular sheds, placed there as protection
> > the sun and for families to relax in and enjoy the scene. Large
> > white-painted surfaces also attract the semi-literate with their
> > All of the white surfaces - and even the blue road signs indicating the
> > route to the crater - now display the scrawl of the graffiti writers. Some
> > have even ventured into the crater, leaving evidence of their passing
> > splashed on the cliff walls.
> >
> > In August last year, Prince Sultan ibn Salman, secretary-general of the
> > Supreme Commission for Tourism, said he believes that tourism will grow
> > the bottom up. He sees a future where towns and villages will be able to
> > form a tourism council and develop a local tourist industry. By involving
> > the local people in the commerce of tourism and letting them benefit from
> > financially, he said, they will realize its benefits.
> >
> > "They will also protect it. No one can protect the industry except people
> > who feel that it is theirs," he said. "It's a new decentralized approach -
> > the government within five years will literally be out of your hair.
> > what's planned, it's what we have announced and it's what the Council of
> > Ministers has agreed on."
> >
> > These are impressive objectives and there are places in the Kingdom that
> > equal any of the heavily protected World Heritage Sites found elsewhere on
> > the planet.
> >
> > The man with the spraycan or the individual who is willing to dump a
> > truckload of industrial garbage in a beauty spot clearly has no
> > understanding of the value of the site and is ahead of the game. His
> > to leave his own unique "footprints in the sands of time" have overtaken
> > attempts at conservation through restriction of access or by educating
> > people to appreciate their heritage.
> >
> > The individual who litters with drinks cans and plastic bags is willfully
> > careless of the fact that others, who have the same wish to visit a site
> > great beauty, might not wish to sit in a half-eaten kabsa or swat
> > plastic bags. If this behavior goes on for five years, the damage to the
> > tourist attraction might be so great that it cannot be reversed.
> >
> > "It's nothing to be ashamed of if you are selective about the kind of
> > tourist you want, especially in a country like Saudi Arabia," said Prince
> > Sultan. "We are not the kind of country that has to have tourists at any
> > cost or at any price."
> >
> > Again, these are right and noble ideals. But the sad truth is that until
> > environmental education gets through to the average citizen, the unique
> > wilderness heritage of the Kingdom will be under greater threat from the
> > indigenous rather than the foreign tourist.
> >
> > It seems that as long as a carload of individuals can drive right to the
> > edge of the crater, treat it as a dining area or rubbish tip and then
> > disappear back home with ease thanks to an open road, the preservation of
> > the wilderness will be under threat. Its survival requires responsibility
> > and an appreciation of nature that some people simply do not have.
> >
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> >
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Dr. Jeffrey N. Grossman phone: (703) 648-6184
US Geological Survey fax: (703) 648-6383
954 National Center
Reston, VA 20192, USA
Received on Mon 09 Feb 2004 12:41:49 PM PST

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