Here's something you never want to hear: "That loud booming sound is coming from inside the house!"
That's what one Inocenta Hernandez from Guatemala City learned after a sudden noise caused her to run outside, thinking there had been an explosion nearby. When she realized the problem was inside her home, she returned to find a gaping, three feet wide, 40 feet deep sinkhole beneath her bed.
Hernandez, 65, was relieved that the damage was only to her house, and hadn't harmed her grandchildren, who had been playing near the bed. This was a little too close to home, but she couldn't have been too surprised that a sinkhole had visited her city.
Guatemala City is prone to spawning giant pits, which are often caused by tropical rain storms. Sinkholes are natural depressions in the earth that can range anywhere from a few feet to hundreds of acres wide, and measure a shallow foot to 100 feet deep.
A massive chasm opened up in Guatemala City back in May 2010; it swallowed up whole buildings and an intersection. No deaths were blamed on the almost perfect cylindrical crater, though.
Meanwhile, a Texas-sized pit opened up in Daisetta, Texas in 2008. The sinkhole stretched 600 feet long and 150 feet wide; it sucked down a tractor, several telephone poles and an assortment of oil field equipment.
Searches certainly opened up on the Web. Lookups on Yahoo! for "what is a sinkhole" and "guatemala sinkhole" and even "daisetta sinkhole" all grew in the last week.
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