Photo: Guatemala's Crazy-Deep Sinkhole (No, It's Not Photoshopped)

By Andrew Moseman | June 1, 2010 4:54 pm

SinkholeHuge

The sheer jarring starkness of it makes this photo look Photoshopped. But the massive sinkhole that collapsed into being in Guatemala City this weekend is deadly real.

The seemingly never ending hole appears to be about 200 feet deep, according to numerous reports [Los Angeles Times].

Tropical Storm Agatha pounded the Central American country, and as of this afternoon the death toll stands around 175. Some of that death and destruction came via mudslides and flooding. However, this gaping hole has captured the world’s attention.

In the northern part of Guatemala City, the downpour created a sinkhole the size of a street intersection. Residents told CNN that a three-story building and a house fell into the hole [CNN].

Unfortunately, the sight is not unfamiliar in Guatemala. The country experienced a similarly daunting sinkhole in 2007 (see photos). A ruptured sewer line caused that one by releasing too much water and softening the ground. It’s not out of the question that the same thing could have happened here, hydrogeologist James Currens says.

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 [National Geographic].

Related Content:
80beats: Why Chile’s Massive Earthquake Could Have Been Much Worse
DISCOVER: Rock-a-pedia, the open source map that could save you from a sinkhole
Bad Astronomy: Top 10 Astronomy Pictures of 2007, featuring something like a sinkhole on Mars

Image: Guatemalan government

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
  • damian

    Is the blackness at the bottom water, or does the hole continue further downward?

  • Cambrico

    At first I thought it was some fool’s day joke, but it was confirmed by the Guatemalan press.
    At http://www.prensaescrita.com/adiario.php?codigo=AME&pagina=http://www.sigloxxi.com. You can find a report by Prensa Libre and Siglo XXI.
    It is the second time this happens. This seems to be a storm drainage 50 to 60 m deep, built 36 years ago, that could have been destroyed by the rains produced by the recent tropical storm. They are checking with X rays to see if other places have similar structures that could fail.
    The hole swallowed a 3 story house, but no victims are reported. The reports are in Spanish.

  • Napoleon

    Well, maybe the Guatemalans can go down the hole and find a new home in China now.

  • lindystar

    Collapsed into what? Is there an aquifer under the city?

  • Jumblepudding

    Why do people find it so hard to believe it’s real? It’s not a dragon or an alien body, it’s just a huge hole in the ground.

  • John

    it’s an alien probe!

  • John

    Is that a Dragon den???

  • Scott Wolfertz

    It’s Bush’s fault!!!

  • Art

    That looks like…(add tasteless comment here)

  • Xtina

    I wonder if they are going to go down it and see whats down there???

  • daniel

    imagine what the gps would say. make a left a the sink hole

  • cgray

    The Cambridge police acted stupidly in creating this hole.

  • Brian Too

    The universe feels a little more random after seeing this. I mean, if this can happen in a major city…

  • Brian in Riverview

    I saw this once in the movie AVP. The hole was made by the Predator’s tunnel-boring ray shot from their spacecraft. There must be another Mayan Pyramid down there. Let the hunt begin.

  • http://leetsee.com/ LeetSee

    This is unbelievable! I wouldn’t like to live in that city after seeing something like this that’s for sure!

  • http://pottytrainpuppy.wetpaint.com Leonardo Dierker

    There are sinkholes in a few regions of Texas. I’d hate to wake up something like that in my backyard!

  • matt rhodes

    honestly how far down does the hole go n if it stops at a point how much further could you go under that how deep down can you possibly go

  • http://yahoo kagunda

    could b this is hells juction.aeroplanes much safer now

  • mr.woodit

    can anyone tell me why its so perfectly round , like it was cut , and is there a pic of the bldg before ?

  • http://www.ghdrettetangbillig.com/ ghd rettetang

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