Guatemalan Woman Finds 40-ft Sinkhole Under Bed

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For a woman in Guatemala City, a loud noise turned out to be much more than something that startled her Monday night.

“When we heard the loud boom we thought a gas canister from a neighboring home had exploded, or there had been a crash on the street,” Inocenta Hernandez said to an AFP reporter. “We rushed out to look and saw nothing. A gentleman told me that the noise came from my house, and we searched until we found it under my bed.”

What the 65-year-old woman found was not what she was expecting: a sinkhole 40 feet deep and 32 inches in diameter that had formed underneath her bed.

A sinkhole formed in 2010 in Guatemala City

Sinkholes are depressions in the earth that are caused by erosion. They can occur over time or suddenly, and are usually cause by leaking water pipes. Guatemala City is prone to them because it is built on volcanic deposits and experiences heavy rainfall. Some sinkholes can form up to 2,000 feet deep and in diameter, while others only grow to 3 feet.

If a sinkhole opens beneath a building, it can swallow it and everyone inside. They have even formed suddenly on roads, swallowing cars and their drivers.

According to The Washington Post, a giant sinkhole swallowed several homes and at least one truck in Guatemala City in 2007, and officials said at least three people had been reported missing. In 2010, a 100-foot sinkhole swallowed three buildings and an intersection.

Other sinkholes have appeared in the U.S., including one in San Francisco that destroyed two homes and caused the evacuation of nine others. The hole was 60 feet deep and measured 150 feet by 200 feet.

“Thank God there are only material damages,” Hernandez said. “Because my grandchildren were running around the house, into that room and out to the patio.”

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