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Hole in the Earth: Guatemala Sinkhole

June 2, 2010

This is a picture of an enormous sinkhole in Guatemala city which was created as a result of landslide after the city was hit by season’s first tropical storm Agatha. The storm has already resulted in more than 150 deaths and many people are missing. The sinkhole shown above is estimated to be about 200 feet deep and 60 feet wide. The sink swallowed a three storey building which housed a clothing factory , a house and also left one person missing.

Sinkholes are natural depressions that can form when water-saturated soil and other particles become too heavy and cause the roofs of existing voids in the soil to collapse.A burst sanitary or storm sewer may have been slowly saturating the surrounding soil for a long time before tropical storm Agatha added to the inundation.”The tropical storm came along and would have dumped even more water in there, and that could have been the final trigger that precipitated the collapse,” Currens said, a hydrogeologist at the University of Kentucky. [National Geographic]

Agatha has caused lots of damage to the city- 13 bridges collapsed and many people lost their houses due to mudslides and then the fomation of this giant sinkhole which could even grow bigger. Earlier in 2007 too, such sinkhole was formed in the city. Honduras and El Salvador are the other countries affected by this storm taking the total death toll to more than 175[CNN].

   

Picture credit: Flickr user gobiernodeguatemala | Used under Creative Commons License

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