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Wellheads in Qatif
واحة القطيف - 14 / 8 / 2006م - 3:15 ص

Qatif Wells from the Riddle of their Presence to the Secret of their Oblivion


Between the palm trees and green plants that attach together to cover the sunlight, and near the Gulf Sea coast in Qatif oasis, a group of natural wellheads are located. Although history couldn’t track their builders but some historians set them down to nations known as «Alamalika» who inhibited the area thousands of years ago.

These wells are considered to be a historical riddle that historians and scholars are still confused with. The historiographers think that «Alamalika» were the builders of these wellheads whereas the geological scholars don’t agree with them and explain the presence of them as a result of the rainy years that the area faced a long time ago which caused the water to leak from the upper surface to the lower layers of the land and there it was faced by hard layers that foreclosed the leaking of the water causing it to gather in the form of tanks. Because of the cracks and water in this layer, and the decadence of the roof to the east side, the water was pushed through the cracks and flew out as wells. The geometric morphology of the wellheads disagrees with this hypothesis and the history of the inhabitants of the area disagrees with the first one and so they all remain hypothesizes.

In the past, wells were the main source of water which all life needs depend on, starting from planting that was irrigated from these wells and ending with all uses of population that depended totally on wellheads so people would gather to take a bath and wash in them. Time passed and these wells became an antique when their water dried and their appearance became a danger after it was the source of life.

The depletion of these wells and the dryness of its water after thousands of years of giving and flowing is another riddle besides the one about the presence of the wells but this other riddle finds an explanation from geologies and geographies based on events and witnesses.

The depletion started with the beginning of the petroleum age in the area. The two matters are related because the oil wells are spread around the boarders of the area and in its cities’ precincts and petroleum is sucked up by it from the inside of the ground which causes having gaps in the ground’s lower layers where the water of the wellheads goes. So, after it used to flow out to the surface now it flows down to the bottom to fill in the gaps caused by the sucking up of the petroleum which are supposed to be filled in with the water of the seas to maintain other fortunes of the area.

Some geologies add another reason for the depletion of these wells which is the building of embankments in the southern area of the Kingdom that became as a container for rain water which used to head to the region to richen the ventral wells and streams because of the nature of the geographic shaping of the area since the Eastern Region is considered to be the lowest area in the Arabian Peninsula which causes the water fallen on other areas head towards it through ventral rivers that move under ground layers and form natural wells and streams.

From these two constructions we understand the avidity of the elements that cause the depletion and dryness of the wells besides that is the negligence that they faced after the evolution of the city life style for the inhabitants and the availability of water in homes that replaced the wells’ water which grandparents remember with grief.

Going back to the history of these wellheads, we find that besides being one of life’s sources that the area used to live on, they also represent a heritage and history that goes back many years that historians couldn’t count. By taking a tour to the remains of these wells and searching in the memory of the grandparents about them, we can find out that some of the wells have written words and epigraphs which some go back to the date of its building. The way of building and shaping prove without any doubt the genius ness of the design. The shapes of these wells varies in the size and geometric shape where they may be round, square, rectangle or random and some are large that streams subdivide from them to reach huge areas and others are only a few meters.

With all these differences, the inside shaping is familiar which assures the genius ness of the designing. It has four layers, the first one, known as the outer chamber, represents the geometric shape which is the well’s shape. The second layer is a group of rocky bosses that appear on the inside walls of the wellhead which are dangerous for swimmers who don’t have an idea about the forming of the well. These bosses vary in the protruding from one well to another.

As for the third layer, there is a long tunnel or a water path which the well’s water can move through to the farms. It’s length varies from one wellhead to another. This layer is considered to be the most narrowing part of the well.

After that, and on the same extent in the bottom there is the well’s floor that is formed of sedimentary layer where the ventral water can flow out through and by it the well gets the ventral water that comes from the inside of the ground.

The reason of the wells’ depletion is in the bottom because the water flowing from the bottom, which the well takes from, stopped flowing that made the wellhead’s water still and unable to be renewed.

Some inhabitants say that no body can dive in these wells after their depletion no matter how good he is in swimming and whoever goes in them is pulled by the ground to its inside. In the past, the ground used to push the swimmers to the surface because of the strong flowing of its water so nobody drawn in it but now it pulls everything that comes in it to the bottom because of the pressure that it faces from the ground. This explains why many citizens covered their wells with sand or surround them with fences since these still have some water but it is brackish and causes the gathering of flies and mosquitoes.

Some people think that giant creators live in the wells and they share stories about these creators. Other wells dried totally and became only an empty shape for a building that used to be a source of life in some day.

In Qatif area there are more than 130 wellheads and most of them dried totally and some are about to dry. They are separated randomly way all over the area. Some are so close to each other in a surprising way that they may even be connected to each other in by water paths under the ground and enable the swimmer in its depth to move from a well to another through these paths.

Also, some have warm water flowing from it which people used for medication. This was continuously warm even in winter and another well is connected to it with cold water which is a confusing thing because both wells have the same taste of water, are located in the same area, are only few meters away from each other and are connected by a water path but their water doesn’t get mixed and the water of each one keeps its temperature all year. This is one of the riddles that the well keeps for itself besides its other riddles that might not be thought of anymore when these wells are forgotten and drawn out of the memory of the sons when the remains are gone from their land.