Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Engineers can't explain hole

News

Engineers were at a loss this week to explain how a hole more than 100m deep appeared in an impoverished district of Guatemala City last month, swallowing several houses and a lorry. City mayor Alvaro Arzu blamed a saturated sewer main for the disaster but British experts thought that baffling and 'highly unusual'.

Halcrow senior water and waste water engineer Philip Rogers explained it is possible for a cracked sewer to carry away earth but not at the volumes required to cause this collapse. Rogers said the mayor's claim 'sounds far fetched. That volume of soil couldn't disappear down a sewer without being noticed or causing huge blockages.' Thames Water project construction engineer Arthur Gugan said an aquifer could create a swallow hole that when emptied of water would leave a large cavern behind but he added the largest swallow hole he had ever seen was 25m 3, not a patch on the Guatemala sinkhole.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.