Switch to Desktop Site
 
 

What exactly is a sinkhole anyway?

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agatha, a 330-foot-deep sinkhole opened up in the middle of Guatemala City. How do sinkholes form in the first place?

0601-guatemala-sinkhole

Guatemala sinkhole: A giant sinkhole caused by the rains of tropical storm Agatha is seen in Guatemala City June 1. Collapsed roads and highway bridges complicated rescue efforts in Guatemala on Tuesday after Tropical Storm Agatha drenched Central America, burying homes under mud and killing at least 175 people.

Daniel LeClair/REUTERS

About these ads

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agatha, a 330-foot-deep sinkhole opened up in the middle of Guatemala City. Like all sinkholes, the one in Guatamala City formed when a swath of land collapsed, leaving behind a crater-like depression in the ground.

The phenomenon is most common in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The ground beneath these states is rich in easily dissolved rocks such as limestone, carbonates and salt beds. When groundwater flows through these rocks, it eats away at them, leaving behind subterranean holes and caverns.

IN PICTURES: Guatemala sinkhole

When the roof of one of these caverns collapses, it takes the land above down with it.

Next

Page:   1   |   2

Share