Collapse in Chiapas Sumidero Canyon caught on video by tourists

A wall of the Cañón del Sumidero in Chiapas, suffered a landslide on Wednesday January 1st. The phenomenon was caught on video by tourists sailing on the Grijalva River, whose ride had to be suspended by the way.

This gigantic geological fault, which begins in the municipality of Chiapa de Corzo and ends at the Manuel Moreno Torres dam, has walls up to 1,300 meters high and the Sumidero Canyon is 12 million years old.

The collapse forced the preventive closure of tourist navigation on the river, authorities said.

Experts from the State Secretariat of Civil Protection and the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) are visiting the area today Thursday January 2nd, to make the first evaluations and determine the causes of the incident.

Although on Wednesday night the Ministry of Civil Protection of the State, in charge of Luis Manuel García Moreno, reported that the rockfall of the Sumidero Canyon was caused by a natural geological phenomenon called “caído” (fallen).

“Geological phenomena are recurring natural manifestations that have their origin in the internal and external dynamics of the three concentric layers of the earth: the nucleus, mantle and crust, which are recorded in different forms of energy release”, García Montero stated.

For its part, the Secretary of Environment and Natural History (SEMAHN) of Chiapas, María del Rosario Bonifaz Alfonzo, said that, according to preliminary reports, it was a natural phenomenon known as “mass removal process” originated by geological dynamics – which “is not out of the ordinary”.

The state official said that the Sumidero Canyon is a system of active failures, therefore, as there were landslides after the earthquake of September 2017, “geological layers could still be rearranging” as part of the “natural and recurring movements” of the plates’ system.

Just last week, the company Cales y Morteros del Grijalva, which operated in the buffer zone of the Canyon, next to the Cahuaré town of Chiapa de Corzo was closed down indefinitely. The factory was active on the site for more than half a century in the midst of the opposition of the locals.

The Directorate for Protection against Health Risks closed the company that used explosives to extract stone material in the Canyon area. There was also a recommendation from the National Human Rights Commission, the CNDH-12-2019, to the Chiapas government, to take measures and ensure the health of the surrounding population.

The Yucatan Times Newsroom



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