Shaped like an elongated heart the Ramon Crater is 500 meters deep (1500 ft), 40 kilometers long and (24.8 miles) and 2 to 10 kilometers wide (1.2 and 6.2 respectively). This erosive crater, encompassing a vast diversity of rocks of fantastic colors and forms, is geologically known as “Machtesh”, or crater, and, along with the surrounding High Negev Mountains, comprises the Ramon Nature Reserve, the largest nature reserve in Israel.
Ramon Crater is the largest of the three Negev craters. It contains geological formations unparalleled elsewhere in the world, with a diversity of rocks including clay hills, in fantastic red and yellow colors.
The creation of the Ramon Crater, also called “Big Crater”, is fascinating: hundreds of millions of years ago, the Negev desert was covered by an ocean. Slowly, the ocean retreated, leaving behind a hump-shaped hill, which was slowly flattened by water and climatic forces. Approximately five million years ago, the Arava Rift Valley was formed, causing the rivers to change their courses, with water carving the inner soft rock of the crater.
As the inside rock of the Crater is softer than the overlaying, the crater bottom continued to deepen at a much faster rate than its surrounding walls. As the crater deepened, more layers of ancient rock were exposed with rocks at the bottom of the crater being up to 200 million years old. Today the Ramon Crater is 500 meters deep, and attracts geologist and tourists from all over the world.