(CNN Spanish) – A huge sinkhole some 60 meters in diameter formed in farmers’ fields in Puebla, a state in central Mexico, threatening to engulf a nearby house.
The sinkhole is located in Santa María Zacatepec, Puebla, and is about 20 meters deep, state governor Miguel Barbosa Huerta said at a press conference on Monday.
Barbosa commented that the family that lives in the house near the sinkhole was evacuated. There are no injuries so far, but the governor has warned local residents to stay away from the area.
The sinkhole measured five meters in diameter when it first appeared on Saturday and then grew rapidly in a few hours, according to Beatriz Manrique, Puebla’s environment secretary.
“We believe that it may be a combination of two factors: the softening of the field, the entire area was being cultivated, as well as the extraction of groundwater, which softens the subsoil,” said Manrique.
Investigation on the sinkhole
Likewise, officials of public bodies, including the National Water Commission, will carry out an investigation into what happened. This process includes soil studies and could take up to 30 days.
The sinkhole is filled with constantly moving water, according to CNN affiliate Televisa.
How do the sinkholes appear?
Potholes occur when the ground can no longer support the surface of the land above it, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
This can occur for a number of reasons, such as erosion of the rock below the ground surface as groundwater passes through it, leaving a void in which the surface collapses.
Cases in 2021
In January 2021, a huge sinkhole swallowed several cars and forced the evacuation of a covid-19 room after opening in the parking lot of a hospital in southern Italy.
And in January 2020, at least six people were killed and 16 others injured after a massive sinkhole engulfed a bus picking up passengers in northwest China.