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June 3, 2010 / Dave Gorham

Tropical Storm Opens Giant Sinkhole in Guatemala City

On Tuesday I blogged about Tropical Storm Agatha hitting Central America, more specifically the Guatemala-Mexico border, which produced torrential rains and caused landslides. Yesterday I wrote about a storm over the weekend in Florida that produced intense lightning that is being blamed for creating a hole in the street. Well today I’m going show you just what Tropical Storm Agatha did in Guatemala City and the giant sinkhole it created. This is going to make Florida’s look tiny in comparison. 

This particular sinkhole opened after Tropical Storm Agatha made landfall over the weekend along the Guatemala-Mexico border. This sinkhole swallowed a three-story building and a home in Guatemala City. Image: AP

Sinkholes are relatively common in Guatemala and locals refer to a spontaneous sinkhole like this as hundimientos. It’s interesting to note that almost three years ago a sinkhole appeared in almost the same exact location. Would that make you want to buy real estate in this area? I don’t think so.

Sinkhole created by Tropical Storm Agatha in downtown Guatemala City. Image: AP

The sinkhole didn’t appear right away but soon after Tropical Storm Agatha moved away from the area and weakened. It’s important to note the amount of rainfall this particular storm produced was more than 3 feet in Guatemala and El Salvador this weekend. Locals believe that a leaky sewage system underground may have already weakened the subsurface rock, intensifying the size of the sinkhole. Authorities say the sinkhole was solely caused by the storm, but have pledged to look into the incident.

The sinkhole is located in downtown Guatemala City and is 66 feet (20 meters) across and nearly 100 feet (30 meters) deep.


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