Giant Sinkholes That Have Appeared in Turkey and Mexico May Be Caused by Humans

Scientists suspect the sinkholes are caused in part by groundwater depletion, a side effect of modern agricultural practices.

Large sinkholes have recently appeared in two different parts of the world. A 17-year-old discovered one of the sinkholes in his grandfather's field in the Konya province of central Turkey.

The night before, he’d been walking in the area, and he said there was no indication of the geologic disturbance. But the next morning, he says he nearly fell into the hole. Had he done so, tragedy would have resulted as the sinkhole is 9 feet across and roughly 200 feet deep.

It’s not an isolated occurrence in the Konya province. Several sinkholes have appeared there in recent years. Most notably, a monstrous 57,414 square-foot (10 miles!) chasm that revealed ancient human cave dwellings.  

Scientists suspect the sinkholes are caused partly by groundwater depletion - a side effect of modern agricultural practices. 

And across the globe in the Mexican state of Puebla, another massive sinkhole opened up. Also in a field, the mouth of the abyss measures at least 196 feet across and extends 49 feet deep. It dwarfs the curious onlookers standing at its edge, and it may even get bigger.

Like its counterparts in Turkey, scientists and environmental groups think humans may have had a role in its creation. They appear to be a result of groundwater depletion caused by local industries. 

When the water is removed, there’s nothing to keep the ground above it from collapsing. And these giant sinkholes are the result.

Related Stories