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GUATEMALA CITY – Second Sink Hole in 2010

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Nature has many helpful and awful surprises for the mankind, built on and in the vast earth we cherish and live on. Some people believe that these are signs and cautions from nature.

The Tropical storm ‘Agatha’ is known for playing havoc on land and shorelines of Central America recently. Now the experts seem convinced that it can also play destructive role underground, triggering the collapse of the 2nd Sink Hole in the Guatemala City. The present hole is over 60 feet (17meters) wide and over 300 feet (95 meters) deep. This seemingly perfect round hole simply swallowed an entire three-story building in no time.

According to David de Leon of Conred, the disaster management Agency, the experts are now worried  that this hole may widen further and there seems to be no immediate remedy except to evacuate the surrounding buildings to save some 300 people living around it.

GUATEMALA CITY – Sink-Hole Formation

Jonathan Martin, geologist in University of Florida and Currens of University of Kentucky opines that Sinkholes typically appear where the subsoil is mostly limestone that can easily be eroded by water. The experts describe the formation of sinkholes takes months or even years. The water seepage downwards slowly dissolves the limestone bedrock subsoil and forms huge cavities below the top surface that remains normal. This huge roof over the empty space is now without any support. When the cavity below, grows larger the mere weight of the top layer could collapse it. But usually groundwater and sewer seepages through holes or cracks or otherwise, keep on saturating this top layer. Also heavy rains after long draughts soak the mud   to an extent that the increased weight of top, forces the land mass to fall suddenly without any prior indications.

The experts estimate the water may have been accumulating in the surface layer over a period and the Agatha storm poured in additional heavy amounts (three feet rainfall at places) of water to speed-up and trigger the collapse.

GUATEMALA CITY – First Sink Hole – 2007

This giant Sinkhole was also over 300 feet deep and consumed several houses and killed three people. The experts had determined the possible cause as a burst sewer pipe that saturated the soil in the surrounding area with water. This giant well was filled in by large stones and all sorts of debris to strengthen the subsoil. The disaster was a big challenge for Guatemala.

A Building Swallowed

The new sinkhole is so big that a three story building was swallowed in no time. The house was being used as a factory. The wire poles and a security guard vanished with it. The neighbors around the hole-site faced sudden blackout that night and saw the awful death trap the next morning. They are worried about the potential danger of the hole growing larger and that nothing could be done to seal it quickly. The authorities see no alternative but to shift the 300 residents of the danger area to safer places before starting the remedial work.

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