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The Guatemela 2010 Sinkhole Disaster

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Yathavan Thiruchelvam

on 13 January 2015

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Transcript of The Guatemela 2010 Sinkhole Disaster

The Guatemala 2010 Sinkhole Disaster
Tropical Storm Agatha
The Agatha storm started on May 29, 2010 & ended the following day. It reached wind speeds up to 75 kilometers per hour & caused a damage of $1.1 billion dollars across Central America. It affected Central America, but especially Guatemala.Here is a chart showing how countries across Central America got affected from this storm:

Our Inquiry Question
Why There
Guatemala city does’t have any limestone structure beneath the city in the first hundreds of meters underground. The first few 100 meters were made of a material called pumice fill, which was created from past volcanic eruptions including the Pacaya Volcano eruption. The pumice fill takes time to harden, therefore it was loose and unstable. It take time for it to turn into hardened rock. Sinkhole was also caused by Agatha a tropical storm that hit Central America, which also killed 146 people in Central America. The pumice fill takes time to harden, therefore it was loose and unstable. It take time for it to turn into hardened rock.

Scientists say that because of the tropical storm Agatha, the sewage and drainage pipes may have been overloaded which lead the infrastructure to dissolve or collapse. The Guatemala city government got a report from experts during the 2007 sinkhole saying that the city’s sewage system should be inspected. But the Guatemalan Government took no action, most likely because they didn't have the budget for repairs. Natural sinkholes normally form when heavy, water-saturated soil causes the roof of the underground. Now sinkholes can form anywhere in the city and is highly unpredictable.

The Pacaya Volcano Eruption
This eruption happened on May 27, 2010, 3 days before this sinkhole. It happened in Escuintla, Guatemala, which is 40 km south of Guatemala City. It pelted out ash, rocks and lava. Ashes covered the ground in cities near the volcano.1800 people were evacuated from 4 villages near the volcano. The volcano caused many problems including closing down the country’s international airport because the airport was covered with sand. The volcanic ashes pelted Guatemala city. Later the ashes clogged the Guatemala city’s sewage system. Which played a part of the creation of the sinkhole. 3 people died from the eruption, 4 others were gone missing. The summit point of the volcano was a amazing 2,552 meters.

The 2010 Guatemala Sinkhole
On May 30, 2010 a sinkhole opened up in Zona 2, Guatemala City, Guatemala. It was about 20 meters diameter and 30-100m deep. It swallowed up a entire 3 story building and also killed 15 people. The sinkhole was caused by 2 other natural disasters and a problem with the city’s sewage system. One of them was the Pacaya Volcano Eruption, which we will talk about within the next few slides. The other natural disaster involved was the Tropical Storm Agatha. Which we also talk about soon. The other reason why was because of the city’s sewage system. So let’s move onto the reasons why the sinkhole formed.
What is a Sinkhole?
How is a sinkhole formed?
Sinkholes are formed by large amount of rain water going through soil and the soil has carbon dioxide so the water turns into acid water which goes down to the limestone and creates a cavity in the limestone. Then the dirt and stone collapse into the cavity and that is how a sinkhole is formed. it looks like a dent in the ground but it is very destructive. here is a diagram of how it is formed.
Guatemala got the most Deaths with 84% of all deaths, also with damage costs with 89% of all Damage costs.
The Agatha Storm also worsened the city’s situation with the Pacaya Volcano Eruption. The cities sewage pipes were already covered with the Volcano ashes, then the storm caused heavy rainfall with 36 cm of rainfall. This eventually caused the sewage system to be flooded
The sinkhole formed after the sewage system was not malfunctioning due to leaking pipes and flooding from Agatha.

A sinkhole is a hole that forms in the surface layer of a area. They are caused from destruction of limestone or caused by drainage of water. They can be small or big enough to swallow buildings. Sometimes they are made by human activity.
How might sinkhole disaster effects be minimized?
Comparing The Sinkhole To Other Buildings
Yathavan's Graph
Zaryaab's Graph
This graph shows the depth and width of the top 10 sinkholes in the world. We compared the depth and the width to see what pattern are there and we found out that if the sinkhole is deep the sinkhole is not that wide and if the sinkhole is wide it is not deep. Also there are sinkhole that are an average like the Xiaozhai Tiankeng sinkhole. It shows the tiniest sinkhole was the devils toilet and the biggest is the Xiaozhai TiankengThat is my findings on this graph.

The sinkhole is 60m to 100m deep ( No one knows yet ) and 18m wide. We compared the sinkhole to things that other people know. We compared it with 2 thing with the depth and 1 thing with the width. We compared the sinkhole with the leaning tower of Pisa, The Roman Colosseum and the Queen A Tennis court. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is approximately 50m tall so we saw that the sinkhole is as deep as the tower. The Roman Colosseum is approximately 50m also so it is the same height as the depth of the sinkhole. We also compared the Width to the sinkhole so we thought what is better then comparing it with the Queen A's Tennis Court. So that is what we did. We used Google Map Engine to find the length of the tennis court and is was exactly 18m so we saw that we could fit 2 Guatemala sinkholes in our tennis court. That is all the comparing we did with our sinkhole.


Thanks for watching!!!!!!!!
Have a great Day QUEEN A
What is Where
The sinkhole formed in the intersection of 11 Avenida A and 6A Calle in Zona 2, Guatemala City. It affected a not so wealthy neighborhood in Guatemala. It opened up and swallowed a whole 3 story building (said to be a factory). It also swallowed electricity poles, which left the area stranded with no power. Geologists were planning to fill the hole but were left wondering how to fix this giant hole. Anyway the residents of the neighborhood evacuated from the area.
Answer to our inquiry question!
So after all the research about the Guatemala sinkhole we learned that it was caused by 3 things a volcano, a big flood and a sewage pipe rupture. So after a lot of thinking we thought the Guatemala government can fix there sewage system and if they don't fix it there will be a future sinkhole disaster. So the best solution to this problem is to make a better sewage pipe system. We could make the ground into cement roads and make sewage pipes in different areas so it all collects into individual storage places and not all in one place. That is a great solution and a very easy thing to do. But when we were researching it said that the Guatemala government had no money to fix the sewage system that caused the 2007 Guatemala sinkhole and a new one arrived in 2010 and maybe still the the Guatemala government never fixed the sewers.

So can it be minimized? Yes it can! As long as we help to donate money to the country for repairs we can do it! The government didn't have enough money to fix the sewage system, so we can support Guatemala by donating money. But, you might be thinking then how does Toronto not have any sinkholes? Remember, the first few hundred meters of Guatemala city are not limestone bedrock. So the city's ground is very unstable.
Fixing the Hole
There were talks about how to fix the sinkhole, there were 2 options: One of them is was filling the sinkhole with cement, limestone, and water known as lodocreto. The other option was to fill it with successive layers of boulders, smaller rocks, and gravel.There were talks about how to fix the sinkhole, there were 2 options: One of them is was filling the sinkhole with cement, limestone, and water known as lodocreto. The other option was to fill it with successive layers of boulders, smaller rocks, and gravel. Geologists wanted to fix the hole, but the Guatemalan Government took no action, most likely because they didn't have the budget for repairs.

Why care?
The sinkhole along with Tropical storm Agatha and The Pacaya Volcano Eruption caused many people reported to be missing, injured or dead. The sinkhole killed 15 people while swallowing a small factory. Over 300 people had to evacuated from the neighborhood as a precaution. The Agatha storm caused 160 deaths in Guatemala. The country lost $982 million dollars in repairs. 1800 people were evacuated from villages near the volcano. 3 people died from the eruption and 4 others were missing.
There are several short and long impacts of the sinkhole. The short term impacts of the sinkhole was people had to evacuate from their homes as a precaution, electricity was down since the poles were swallowed, people died and got injured. The long term impacts was fixing the hole, money lost, sewage system repairs and more.
This sinkhole affected the ecosystem because when the limestone broke beneath the ground the whole city had to be evacuated. So all the animals and people evacuated the city and that neighborhood was abandoned. The Guatemalan government then said the land is going to be wasted, so they planned to fill it but a scientist said that the sinkhole was very smelly so one person went down there and they saw a pile of dead people and animals. All the animals in the whole area where dead because there was no grass or any animal so a bit of people died but more animals died. In the future no one can build a building or anything in the area around the sinkhole because another building is going to get swallowed. That is the scientific impact of this sinkhole.
So now we get to the conclusion. The sinkhole was very massive and the government could not afford filling the hole. We think that the sinkhole will not be filled and there is a big chance that there will be a Guatemala 2016 sinkhole and others to come. They can fix that if they fix the sewage system and renovate the pipes and underground sewage area. Another way is that they could clean the ash from the volcano eruption that is stuck in the pipes. And also they could replace the dirt that has acid water into new dirt where they could grow plants and crops. Also they should invent a sinkhole proof house that can not collapse like adding a thick piece of metal sheet underneath the house might do the trick. but the most simplest way is to fill the ground with dirt and rock then adding a layer of cement then fixing the pipes and sewage system that is the cheapest way to fix the sinkhole.

What can we do as Canadians to help Guatemala with their situation with the sinkhole? Well, we can help in many ways. We could donate money to help fill the hole, new sewage system, new electricity line and homes swallowed. We can start a fundraiser and help spread the word to people to donate money. But not just sinkholes of course. There are tons of natural disaster that are worse then our sinkhole. Natural disasters are part of life and some of them we can prepare for and others we cannot, it just works that way. We think Guatemala should have received help 3 years before this sinkhole happened. Why? Because the 2007 Guatemala Sinkhole also was made by sewage pipes. The city didn't have enough money to fix the sewage system. So, unfortunately because of that, the poor people in Guatemala are feeling the pain of these natural disasters. So that's why we need to help. Hopefully the sewage system will be fixed, so no more sinkholes will happen.

First I’m going to be comparing the sinkhole to the one that happened 3 years ago in the the same city. It is the 2007 Guatemala sinkhole. So let’s start by organizing the number facts in this graph. As you can see, the 2010 sinkhole wasn't as destructive as the 2007 sinkhole. In Terms of deepness the 2007 sinkhole was 3 times more deeper than the 2010 sinkhole. But the 2010 sinkhole caused 3 times more deaths than the 2007 sinkhole (5 deaths to 15 Deaths). From this graph I can make a prediction that also connects with my Inquiry Question ( How can sinkhole disaster effects be reduced, particularly in Guatemala?).
From my research I know that the government from Guatemala got a report from Geologists that the city’s sewage system needs to be fixed and improved. I think that the government did there best they can (because of money) to fix the sewage system. It may not have completely worked but it definitely did reduce the impact of future sinkholes. I think that the number of deaths have increased because the area where the 2010 sinkhole happened was right underneath a small factory. The 2007 sinkhole just opened up in the middle of a road, so that’s probably why more people died. If this is the case, why do you think the number of deaths increased so much?For a example I can refer to my bar graph. As you can see the 2007 sinkhole was 100 meters deep while the 2010 sinkhole was 30-60 meters deep. So there was a significant decrease from the previous sinkhole in the same city.
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