Mérida, Yucatán, (June 14, 2021).- These days there is much talk about the “sinkhole” that was formed in the state of Puebla, the Círculo Espeleológico del Mayab, AC takes the opportunity to mark the difference between the formation of this great hole and the cenotes that form in the Peninsula of Yucatan.
In appearance you might think that they are the same, but the characteristics of the soil is what makes the difference.
Here is the explanation offered by the Círculo Espeleológico del Mayab on its social media account:
What is the difference between a cenote and a sinkhole?
Although at first glance they may seem similar, in reality, they are two totally different phenomena; We must begin by making the difference between soil and rock.
Soil: UNCONSOLIDATED material, which is usually made up of a mixture of organic remains, clay and rock particles.
Rock: CONSOLIDATED material, which is usually made up of crystals or grains of one or more minerals.
A sinkhole is made in the ground and a cenote is made in rock.
For a sinkhole to form, we need three components:
-Abundant water, which can come from torrential rains, changes in groundwater flow, or broken pipes in cities.
-Short time: It can be formed over months, days, or even hours as it happened in Puebla.
Instead, a cave is formed through a process known as “Karstification” or “Carsification”, where sedimentary rocks, mainly limestone, go through a chemical and physical process of dissolution for hundreds of thousands of years, which form the void which we know as a cave.
When the ceiling of a cave does not support its own weight, it collapses, forming a cenote – if it reaches the water – and although the collapse event is rapid, its formation actually took hundreds of thousands of years.
For this reason, in places like the Yucatan Peninsula, where rock predominates over soil, it is incorrect to call a collapse or cenote a “sinkhole”.
P.S. They are generally circular because that is the most structurally stable form that the material reaches in this type of natural phenomena.