when graboids attack


A 330-foot-deep sinkhole killed two teenage siblings when it swallowed about a dozen homes early Friday and forced the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people in a crowded Guatemala City neighborhood.

The pit emitted foul odors, loud noises and tremors, shaking the surrounding ground. A rush of water could be heard from its depths.


23 Responses:

  1. Save us, Repairman Jack!

  2. positricity says:

    I'm struck by how close the hole is to being round, in shape.

    • dasht_brk says:

      Nature computes circles with abandon. Circles are easy to compute, by many, many algorithms. Take a survey of simple algorithms and you'll find that many of them compute or approximate circles.

      In other words, "don't act so surprised."


  3. Looking at the size of the whole versus the size of the buildings around it, how did they get a dozen homes into that small a space? Or was it just that a dozen homes were considered to be in the affected area? Or am I just to used to "homes" being individual buildings?

    • whittles says:

      I think it's your last guess. If you look at the wider view shot you can get a sense of the size of homes. They're kind of shanty town style.

  4. pushupstairs says:

    here in Boston, there was a pretty giant sinkhole that collapsed yesterday that was about 10 feet deep and spread the entire width of a street. it was the biggest sinkhole I had ever seen by about an order of magnitude...

    until today, when I saw these pictures. 330 feet? holy shit. is it just me, or does it seem like a giant worm should be coming out of that hole?

    • fyre_fiend says:

      You're not the only one. In my mind I keep seeing a sand-worm rearing out of it

    • quercus says:

      That's not a "sinkhole" in the geological sense. If older Western cities lose something by 10', that's a sewer collapsing.

      Geological sinkholes on this Guatemalan scale scale are caused during limestone cave formation. Limestone dissolves in slightly acid rainwater (just CO2, this long predates industrial acid rain) and underground rivers etch out caverns. If one of these grows near enough to the surface, then something (maybe sudden rainfall) causes yet another roof collapse, then it may be enough to reach the surface. This isn't the surface collapsing bizarrely downwards into a small hole, it's a vast hole that has been there unseen for millennia, just losing a tiny bit of roof. Compared to the size of the pre-existing cavern, it's not even much volume of earth moving.

      As this one is so neatly round, it's not all that shallow. There must have been a layer of poorly compacted soil on top of the limestone. When a small ragged hole appears in the top of the limestone, the loose stuff goes through like a funnel, leaving a bigger round edge.

      I don't know what the local geology of Guatemala city is, but I bet it's limestone. If it isn't, then my money's on giant worms.

  5. drhoz says:

    so we've got graboids. Will mexican food give us ass-blasters?

  6. moonracer says:

    is it just me or do all the pics from the sky look like the bottom of the hole is blacked out in photoshop? I suppose the solid black area could just be water(sewage) that isn't being hit by enough light to show up through the camera, but it still looks odd. I'd love to see a closer image of the inside.

    • gryazi says:

      As discussed here previously, digital cameras have a rather shitty dynamic range right now; to keep the rest of the picture from blooming detail got sacrificed in the shadow.

  7. hafnir says:

    Wow, I read the story a few days ago and went "huh?" and all, but it was criminal the story I read didn't have pictures. Thanks, it makes much more sense now...and yet not! :)

  8. blackchurch says:

    Holy fuck! That's one pissed off worm! Big too....

  9. knowbuddy says:

    I mean, if you're gonna do it, commit ...

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    That was right up the road from me, actually.