In the wake of the storm Agatha in Central America, a natural phenomenon occurred in Guatemala City, Guatemala – a giant sinkhole appeared in the middle of town, swallowing up “a clothing factory” and other buildings:
This hole runs 200 meters deep, and is said to have killed over 115 people. I was shocked when I read of this event, and began to look up why something like this would happen.
According to National Geographic, “natural sinkholes generally form when heavy, water-saturated soil causes the roof of an underground limestone cavity to collapse, or when water widens a natural fracture in limestone bedrock.” However, in that same article, titled “Guatemala Sinkhole Created by Humans, not Nature,” the magazine proceeded to say that the sinkhole can be blamed on the poor infrastructure of the city. According to Sam Bonis, a geologist at Dartmouth, “a burst sewer pipe or storm drain probably hollowed out the underground cavity that allowed the chasm to form.”
Another possible reason, according to Bonis, is the volcanic pumice that is under the city. The entire underground infrastructure of the city is “built in a region where the first few hundred meters of ground are mostly made up of a material called pumice fill, deposited during past volcanic eruptions…[the pumice is] unconsolidated, it’s loose. It hasn’t been hardened into a rock yet, so it’s easily eroded.”
This is a tragic moment for Guatemala and a wake up call for any nation with poor infrastructure to begin fixing their cities.
However, on a lighter note, I have an alternate theory to this. Even though I am not a geologist, I believe that this sinkhole can be attributed to the Silver Surfer coming to Earth, followed by his boss, Galactus, the vast cosmic planet-eater. If anybody wants proof, just watch the second Fantastic Four movie. Here’s a screen shot: