What Caused Guatemala City to Open Up

Amidst flooding and tropical storms, the giant sinkhole in downtown Guatemala City is capturing attention worldwide. The Sydney Morning Herald looks into how it was caused.
June 1, 2010, 4pm PDT | Akshali Gandhi
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Poor engineering design (specifically poor sewer drainage) could be the primary cause of the sinkhole that formed in the north side of Guatemala's capital city, says a professor from Queensland University of Technology.

The sinkhole was probably triggered by the recent tropical storm, Agatha, which swept the region and left devastating results in its path. It also managed to bring down a house and a three-story building along with it.

Natural disaster is not the main point of blame, however. Sinkholes "can be enhanced by removing and pumping out groundwater, or extracting petroleum products in nearby formations,'' he said.

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Published on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 in The Sydney Morning Herald
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