Sinkhole in Guatemala, Argentina, South America
Picture of Sinkhole in Street in Guatemala City
Sinkhole Opens up in Guatemala Street - And Swallows Whole Building
After the recent floods and Tropical Storm Agatha, suddenly a sinkhole has opened up in a Guatemala Street and it's swallowed a whole high-rise building and a house. The sinkhole first appeared overnight in May/June 2010. There was a previous sinkhole elsewhere in the city in 2007, which killed three people when several houses were swallowed up.
Sinkholes can be naturally occurring phenomena, or they can be the result of old mining shafts, or even over-working of a sewage system. It's quite rare for such large sinkholes to open up and swallow whole buildings though, or houses.
There has been a previous sinkhole in Guatemala, in 2007, which killed three people. That one was 300 feet deep and caused by sewage water dissolving the underlying rock.
The trigger for this sinkhole is most likely the water caused by Storm Agatha sweeping away the underlying rock too.
Sinkholes such as this one in Guatemala are known around the world. It's just the sheer size of the sinkhole in Guatemala that's unbelievable
The Size of the Sinkhole in Guatemala
You might be wondering about the size of the sinkhole in Guatemala.
It's a full 60metres deep and 30metres wide. Large enough to swallow the Statue of Liberty. That is 200 feet deep - and the sinkhole in Guatemala could get even bigger.
The sinkhole in Guatemala in 2010 is the biggest I've ever seen! Do you know of others?
Is The Sinkhole Natural or is it a Manmade Sinkhole?
Since the sinkhole in Guatemala appeared, geologists have been investigating it and many have wondered if it is a manmade sinkhole. Naturally, people living in the neighbourhood of this huge hole in the earth are wondering if it could happen to them, or if it was something that was caused by construction of the swallowed building, or caused by the building of the sewer tunnels.
A worry, whichever it is!
Other Sinkholes in the News
I'm fascinated by sinkholes, so here are some other sinkholes that have appeared - from a sinkhole that swallowed a horse, to a sinkhole in China that swallowed a bus.
- May 2013: Sinkhole in Buffalo nearly swallows a car.
- June 2012: Sinkhole in Guangxi Zhuang, China
- June 2012: Sinkhole Canton, Cherokee County, Georgia, USA. Sinkhole on farm swallows a horse!
- May 2012: Sinkhole in La Puente, Los Angeles, USA. Sinkhole in the road caused by a burst water main.
Some sinkholes appeared years ago and are now filled with water and are even a tourist attraction. There's one sinkhole in Binnah, Oman which has concrete steps leading down into it, so people can swim in it!
Could This Sinkhole Threaten a Whole Town?
Some sinkholes open up without warning - others simply creep larger and larger.
In New Mexico there is a growing sinkhole that has the potential to swallow an entire town, which'd force residents to leave their homes.
Man Made Sinkhole
What is different about this sinkhole is that it is man-made. The sinkhole in ... close to the Carlsbad Caverns National Park was created by the oil industry - and now there are signs warning passing motorists to be aware of it. Formed over 30 years from the pumping of water to support local oil drilling activity, this sinkhole is unstoppable.
If it collapses, the unnatural cavern is likely to take with it a church, a highway, several businesses and a trailer park.
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