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Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Guatemala Sinkhole or is it?

 Guatemala City Sinkhole by Julie Hansen

On May 31, 2010, Guatemala City was struck with a terrible collapse of top soil on a street intersection, which ate up a three-story building and a house. It formed a huge sinkhole at the middle of the intersection.  It was right after tropical storm Agatha had struck the city and flooded the area to about three feet high.  The huge sinkhole measured about 60 feet wide and around 200 feet deep. Reports say that two onlookers have fallen into the deep hole, which prompted the Guatemalan government to barricade the site against spectators to avoid more accidents.

A sinkhole forms after water gradually erodes limestone formation underneath the earth and creates a caving in effect over time. It happens in many places around the world. The Philippines has a number of sinkholes particularly in Visayas and Mindanao.

However, an expert geologist Sam Bonis says that it was not actually a sinkhole but a piping feature. He said, "…When you have water flowing from storm water runoff, a sewage pipe, or any kind of strong flow, it eats away at the loose material. We don't know how long it has to go on before it collapses. But once it starts collapsing, God help us..." (ANI)

Whatever it was, the fact is there was a cave in of top soil in Guatemala City. Such event is life threatening and terrifying for its inhabitants. I hope their government together with their geological scientists can find a way to prevent this from happening again. We can see here the power of nature. It is amazing and terrifying. We might as well be its friend than its worst enemy.

Guatemala City Sinkhole Photo courtesy of: 
Julie Hansen of


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