Deadly sinkholes in Guatemala

by JGordon on Jun. 01st, 2010

A sinkhole in Guatemala: The image looks fake, but it's the real thing.
A sinkhole in Guatemala: The image looks fake, but it's the real thing.Courtesy Gobierno de Guatemala
Hopefully someone else can get explain this in more detail, but I thought I'd toss this up here:

Severe rain from tropical storm Agatha has overwhelmed and broken sewage pipes in Guatemala City, washed out sediment beneath certain parts of the city, and caused horrifying spontaneous sinkholes.

The one in the picture is over 60-feet-deep and 45-feet-wide, and it swallowed an entire 3 story building when it opened up. Because of the underlying geography and poor urban engineering, this isn't the first time this has happened (here's an article about an even bigger sinkhole from 2007), and supposedly other sinkholes are still forming in the city.

Everything has been made worse because a nearby volcano erupting just two days before Agatha hit, and the ash it released is forming a muddy, almost concrete-like material with the rainwater. It sounds like a pretty bad situation.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

who cares's picture
who cares says:

dang that thing is giant

posted on Sun, 06/13/2010 - 2:48pm
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

Yikes! I remembered reading about Florida's sinkholes in one of my undergrad classes. This website explains how a specific kind of underlying geology, karst topography, makes Florida the sinkholiest state in the union.

It's not Guatemala, but I imagine the root cause is similar.

posted on Mon, 06/14/2010 - 4:50pm
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

These photos, A rough week for Guatemala, also helped me to understand the Guatemalan sinkhole. Photos of the volcanic ash, heavy rain, swollen rivers, and mudslides culminate in four powerful photos of the sinkhole (#31-34).

posted on Tue, 06/15/2010 - 10:05am
who cares's picture
who cares says:

that is giant. i would not like to be in the middle of that.

posted on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 3:42pm

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