Sinkhole in Mexico Photos Shows House on Edge of Colossal Crater

An enormous sinkhole now measuring more than 300 feet in diameter almost swallowed a family home, terrifying photos show.

The giant hole appeared in the middle of farmland in the town of Juan C. Bonilla, in the state of Puebla, Mexico, on Saturday.

The pit initially measured around 15 feet in diameter but expanded dramatically over 24 hours to reach its current size, said Puebla's environmental secretary Beatriz Manrique.

It is thought to be 50 feet deep and filled with underground water, according to the state civil protection authority and the National Water Commission (Conagua), both of which attended the site.

sinkhole Mexico
Aerial view of a sinkhole that was found by farmers in a field of crops in Santa Maria Zacatepec, state of Puebla, Mexico on May 30, 2021. JOSE CASTAÑARES/Getty Images
sinkhole Mexico
The massive, expanding sinkhole appeared unexpectedly on a family farm. JOSE CASTAÑARES/Getty Images

Members of the public have been urged to stay away from the field in the Santa Maria Zacatepec area, which has been cordoned off by a security perimeter.

But photos shared from the scene show crowds of curious onlookers gathered around the perimeter of the hole to catch a glimpse of the phenomenon.

Video taken on Monday by El Sol de México shows huge chunks of earth falling from the rim and into the hole beneath.

The house belonging to a local farmer can also be seen precariously teetering on the edge of the sinkhole.

The family was evacuated and local residents were warned to stay away from the area, state governor Miguel Barbosa Huerta said at a press conference Monday.

An investigation is underway to establish the reason behind the sinkhole's formation.

sinkhole Mexico
Villagers stand alongside the perimeter of the sinkhole which opened up on Saturday. JOSE CASTAÑARES/Getty Images
sinkhole Mexico
The ground collapsed just meters from a family home in a field in Santa Maria Zacatepec in the state of Puebla. JOSE CASTAÑARES/Getty Images

Personal de esta Coordinación, con @AmbienteGobPue, #CENAPRED y @CNPC_MX, continúa con los estudios técnicos📑 sobre el #Socavón en #Zacatepec, Juan C. Bonilla.
🔹️ Presenta un diámetro de 60 m de ancho por 15 de profundidad.
⚠️ Se exhorta a la población a NO acercarse a la zona pic.twitter.com/2c5I1SVIub

— PC Estatal Puebla (@PC_Estatal) June 1, 2021

Local reports have linked it to a "jagüey," essentially a large pond, which is said to have stood where the sinkhole has appeared.

"A long time ago there was a jagüey there, but we don't know why they covered it, but we think that the water struggled to regain its space and that is why it appeared," one local resident told TV Azteca.

However, there are also early suspicions that it could be linked to the Alto Atoyac sub-basin.

Manrique said it's possible that "a softening of the farmland" and the "extraction of aquifers" may have caused the ground to completely collapse under the weight of any surface water.

"We think that it might be a combination of two factors: the softening of the field, the whole area was being cultivated, as well as the extraction of groundwater, which softens the subsoil," she said.

sinkhole Mexico
The enormous sinkhole at one point measured 200ft in diameter and is thought to be 50ft deep, according to the National Water Commission Conagua. JOSE CASTAÑARES/Getty Images

⚠️ Ante la formación de un socavón en terrenos de cultivo de Sta. Ma. Zacatepec, en Juan C. Bonilla, @Segob_Puebla a través de esta coordinación, exhorta a la población a NO acercarse al lugar a fin de evitar accidentes. Trabajamos de la mano con #SP, #PC municipal y #CONAGUA. pic.twitter.com/zAy4lQY9yr

— PC Estatal Puebla (@PC_Estatal) May 30, 2021

Barbosa referred to it as a "geological fault," and said that "it is a matter of enormous risk."

"I tell the Poblanos and the people of the region that we are going to be aware that there are no human tragedies. It is a geological fault that must be addressed with great care, with technique and with all the precautions and we are doing it," he said.

Magdalena and Heriberto Sánchez, the owners of the house that was evacuated, said that they heard a sound like thunder before the sinkhole opened up.

"At 6 o'clock we heard like thunder and we did not think this was it and then my in-laws realized it and when I got closer, I saw that the earth sank and how the water was bubbling and I panicked," Magdalena Sánchez told El Sol de México.

Sinkholes occur when the ground can no longer support the land surface above it, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

This can happen for a number of reasons, including the erosion of rock beneath the land surface as groundwater passes through it, leaving a void which the surface collapses into.