Massive sinkhole opens in southeastern Mexico

Massive sinkhole opens in southeastern Mexico

A giant sinkhole measuring 80 m (262 feet) in diameter has opened up on a field in southern Mexico on Saturday, May 29, 2021. No damage or injuries were reported, but a nearby home is at risk of being swallowed as the gaping hole continues to expand rapidly each day. Scientists are considering several hypotheses as the possible causes, including variations in the soil's water content.

The sinkhole appeared in the town of Juan C. Bonilla, Puebla State, in the southeastern region, according to state officials. It is estimated to be about 15 m (50 feet) deep.

Authorities said there were no reports of damage to structures or injuries, but a nearby home is at risk of being swallowed. The residents have been evacuated while the public was warned to stay away from the hole.

The homeowners said they heard a loud boom that sounded like thunder before the sinkhole appeared. They then saw the ground started sinking and water bubbling.

"We have nothing. We're not from here. We have no relatives. We're alone," said homeowner Heriberto Sanchez, who was originally from Veracruz State.

According to Beatriz Manrique, Puebla's environmental secretary, the sinkhole started at about 5 m (15 feet) in diameter, and then expanded over 24 hours. The hole then rapidly grew to 60 m (197 feet) on Monday, May 31.

As of Tuesday, June 1, the sinkhole measured 80 m (262 feet) in diameter.

The exact cause is under investigation, but local media reported that the sinkhole lies on what's known as the Alto Atoyac geological fault, which is also being looked into by authorities.

Puebla governor Miguel Barbosa said the situation "is a matter of enormous risk."

"It is a geological fault that must be addressed with great care, with technique, and with all the precautions and we are doing it."

"It will grow until nature decides when the water stops exerting pressure. The important thing now is public safety"

Featured image credit: Geól. Sergio Almazán

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