The Gates of Hell Just Opened In Guatemala

"This can't be real" was my first thought. Then I checked the source: The Guatemalan government. This sinkhole appeared last sunday in a street intersection of Ciudad de Guatemala. Just looking at the photo gives me vertigo. [Updated]

Click on the images to see the high resolution version. Check the video here

A sinkhole is a natural depression caused by the removal of underground soil by water. Usually, it happens when the substrate is formed by limestone, carbonate rock, salt beds or any other rock that is easily eroded by water streams. The process could be slow, but sometimes the land just cracks open without notice. In this case, it happened suddenly, swallowing an entire house. The cause: Massive underground water torrents created by tropical storm Agatha.

The Gates of Hell Just Opened In Guatemala

Sinkholes' size ranges from low terrain depressions to hundred of meters. Unlike the similar sinkhole that killed two teens in 2007, there seems to be no victims. At least one local newspaper is reporting one person dead, but the authorities have not confirmed it. Some neighbors claim that a whole three-story building and a house fell into the hole. Updated: The sinkhole swallowed a clothing factory. No deaths or injuries have been registered.

The Gates of Hell Just Opened In Guatemala

The Gates of Hell Just Opened In Guatemala

Click to viewJudging by the picture above, it seems like at least the last part is true. [Flickr via Boing Boing]

Credits

First photo: Paulo Raquec via Flickr
Second Photo: Paulo Raquec via Flickr
Third Photo: Associated Press/STR
Fourth Photo: Photograph by Daniel LeClair, Reuters