This gigantic waterfall is being swallowed up by a huge sinkhole, and scientists can't work out why

James Besanvalle
Wednesday 01 April 2020 15:30
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Image:(joreasonable/iStock)

In non-coronavirus news, a giant sinkhole is swallowing up Ecuador’s largest waterfall and scientists have been baffled as to where exactly it came from.

San Rafael Waterfall in the Napo province is usually gushing with powerful streams of water along the Coca River at the intersection of the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin.

But since the start of February, it’s started to become a slow trickle.

This is because several feet upstream, a mysterious sinkhole is diverting the water to three smaller waterfalls elsewhere.

So where did the sinkhole come from?

One theory is that recent earthquakes have shifted

Geologist Alfredo Carrasco told Mongabay.com:

There are many quite intense earthquakes here… For me, the phenomenon [the collapse of the waterfall] is eminently of natural origin.

But researcher Emilio Cobo is sure a nearby hydroelectric plant is to blame:

A waterfall that has been there for thousands of years does not collapse, coincidentally, a few years after opening a hydroelectric project. These are processes that are in scientific papers and there is sufficient evidence that a dam can cause effects of this type on a river.

Scientists agree an in-depth investigation is needed to find out more and to see if anything can be done about it.

H/T: Mongabay

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