The enormous sinkhole in Puebla State, southeastern Mexico, has grown to 110 m (360 feet) in diameter as of Monday, June 7, 2021, prompting authorities to widen the security perimeter. The hole has already destroyed a nearby house's bedroom and part of a wall and is threatening to swallow the entire structure as continues to expand.
The sinkhole appeared in Santa María Zacatepec, in the town of Juan C. Bonilla, and is confirmed to be 9 m (30 feet) deep. It measured 80 m (262 feet) in diameter on May 29 and has grown rapidly ever since.
As of Monday, the sinkhole has grown another 13 m (43 feet), now measuring 110 m (360 feet) across at its widest point.
The Sánchez Xalamihua family, who owns the home near the sinkhole, said they heard a loud boom the day the sinkhole appeared.
"We heard something like a rumbling," Magdalena Xalamihua, the matriarch, told the media. "We thought it was fireworks, but we looked outside and saw the earth moving and water coming up, like waves. We ran."
She and her husband, along with their two children, had only just moved into the house in 2020.
#MisiónECO |Juan C.Bonilla, #Puebla— Protección Civil México (@CNPC_MX) June 7, 2021
Un #socavón es el hundimiento producido en el suelo posiblemente por existir una corriente subterránea.
El que se encuentra en terrenos de cultivo de #Zacatepec, no es un atractivo turístico, ni un sitio para visitar con tu familia.pic.twitter.com/uiXz1V8mgn
‼️ Este domingo fue el día que más curiosos y turistas llegaron al #socavón dd Santa María Zacatepec; incluso hubo visitantes de Chihuahua y Tampico. También incrementaron los puestos ambulantes.— SET Noticias (@SET_Noticias) June 6, 2021
ACTUALIZACIÓN:#Socavón que apareció en #Zacatepec municipio de Juan C Bonilla #Puebla #CENAPRED ha determinado que es altamente posible que su origen se deba a flujos de agua subterránea— Geól. Sergio Almazán (@chematierra) June 4, 2021
Su perímetro continúa en aumento, se recomienda restringir el acceso.
Vía @CNPC_MX pic.twitter.com/wGoD0bjl2n
Esta es una de las mejores imagenes que he podido obtener para estimar la profundidad del #socavón en #Zacatepec #Puebla— ffloresm (@ffloresm) June 7, 2021
Lo que muestra imagen es que el espejo de agua se encuentra entre 8.50 y 9.00m de profundidad pic.twitter.com/17qfjimS1Q
According to local media, Puebla State Governor Miguel Barbosa had not visited Zacatepec but admitted that the situation is a "matter of enormous risk," assuring that the government will remain vigilant to prevent further tragedy.
"It’s a geological fault that must be treated with the utmost caution, technically and with all preventive measures in place," stated Barbosa.
A team of geologists from the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla is working on a report to study the event, which authorities hope could be ready by the end of June.
Delfino Hernández, a geological engineer at the Geological Hazards Laboratory of Mexico City’s Metropolitan Autonomous University, along with his team, is set to arrive in the area on the weekend to examine the sinkhole.
"These faults are already present within the soil. They may have existed for 5 000 to 10 000 years before being reactivated," he said.
"It just needs nature to provide the impact so that they appear on the surface. This phenomenon, as far as I can see, was going to happen sooner or later."
Featured image credit: National Coordination of Civil Protection of the Government of Mexico