Makhtesh Ramon is the ideal venue for the study of geology, even for those with little or no prior knowledge of the subject. The vigorous process of erosion, which swept away the upper strata of the Ramon anticline, penetrated deep into the ground, creating a "window" onto the layers of rock. Makhtesh Ramon also contains evidence of long-ago volcanic activity.
Three sites of particular geological interest are the so-called Sawmill, where the sandstone crystallized into prism-like shapes; the dykes in Nahal Ardon; and the ammonites wall on the southern side of the makhtesh, a large stone wall studded with the fossils of the large snails known as ammonites.
Of all of Israel`s desert regions, the Ramon area has the most varied and lush flora. This can be attributed to the variety of habitats found here and to the difference between the climactic conditions on the Ramon Ridge and those on the makhtesh floor. The desert springs and the damp soil near them also give rise to a special habitat. Rushes, whose leaves have needle-like points, cattails, and reeds grow near the fresh water. This is evidence that there is groundwater close by, even if none is visible.
Thanks to the variety of habitats in the Ramon region, many species of animals choose to make their homes here. Because of the size and remoteness of Makhtesh Ramon and stringent nature-conservation efforts in the Ramon region, the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority decided this would be an appropriate place for the reintroduction of animals which had disappeared from the Negev Desert landscape. One was the onager, a wild ass which cannot be domesticated.
The Nubian ibex, once in danger of becoming extinct in Israel, now romps happily on the cliffs of Makhtesh Ramon. The Negev highlands also has populations of leopards, hyenas, dorcas gazelles, wolves, red foxes, Afghan foxes, caracals, sand foxes, and Syrian hyraxes. The small rodents - fat sand rat, garden dormoose, and golden spiny mouse - and the many reptiles in the makhtesh are harder to spot.
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