The Great Guatemalan Sinkhole

In a Nutshell

Mother Nature is always unpredictable, and in some corners of the Earth, extremely unforgiving too. Some places in this world experience horrendous hurricanes or catastrophic earthquakes, whereas others experience extensive droughts or devastating tsunamis. But, if you happened to be in Guatemala in 2010, you would have been a witness to something much more bizarre – a direct tunnel to the core of our planet.

The Whole Bushel

Just south of Mexico is the sunny region of Guatemala, a country which is jam-packed with beautiful attractions and scenic views. If you’re looking for a tranquil getaway, then Lake Atitlan would be a perfect option. Alternatively, if you want to hop in a time machine and travel back through history, the ancient Mayan City of Tikal would fit the bill.

But, one thing that Guatemala has an abundance of is volcanoes, and that’s exactly what the residents of Guatemala City fear the most. You see, when it comes to volcanoes, most people would be petrified about the possibility of a ferocious eruption with tons of fresh lava spewing out. However, with Guatemala City, it’s the fact that it’s situated on top of weak volcanic pumice.

Now, you’re probably wondering why that’s such a bad thing, right? Well, as the foundations are so unstable, the area has a serious problem with sinkholes. If you’re not aware of what they are, just imagine a ginormous hole in the ground; they happen because the weak pumice succumbs to the pressure from above. On Sunday 30th of May 2010, though, a particularly bad sinkhole opened up.

With no warning or prior indication, the Earth just suddenly crumbled, and within seconds there was a huge hole in the ground that dug down miles and miles. Let’s just say, anyone or anything that dropped down there would never be coming back up. Smack-bang in the middle of the city is where it occurred, and the rough size of the thing was 60-feet wide and 30-stories deep.

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Unfortunately, as it was in the middle of the city, it meant a three-story building and an innocent individual’s abode was sucked into it. Of course, panic erupted, partly because there’s a big dangerous hole present and partly because they knew it was going to be there for a while. Why? Because it’s fair to say Guatemala isn’t exactly blessed with great finances, and the current state of the infrastructure there means sinkholes are difficult to fill in.

So, if you ever take a trip to Guatemala, be sure to keep a beady eye out for humungous holes in the ground that just casually blend into the surroundings. Oh, and if you live in Guatemala City, just pray the event of 2010 doesn’t repeat itself because the last thing you want is your home spiraling into the depths of a sinkhole.

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