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Chakanbakán lagoon dries up after sinkholes drain water

Chetumal, Q.R. — The government of Mexico says three large sinkholes are responsible for the draining of the Chakanbakán lagoon in the southern region of Quintana Roo.

The lagoon began draining two days ago, and almost overnight, has been left void of water with its cracked bed exposed. The Chakanbakán lagoon, which was a tourist attraction in that area, is located in Nicolás Bravo in south Quintana Roo.

Since Monday, water has been receding and as of Wednesday, the lagoon is nearly dried up. The National Water Commission of Mexico (Conagua) confirmed that there were three sinkholes, one of them 10 meters in diameter, that caused the Chakanbakán lagoon to dry.

The Chakanbakán lagoon

At a press conference, Conagua delegate José Luis Blanco Pajón, explained that the sinkholes occurred naturally and it is not known if there will be more. He expressed that not all the water drained, but what was left behind has accumulated in one part.

“The water is still seen in one part, which indicates that it was not completely drained,” he said.

He reiterated that they cannot predict what happens with the sinkholes or if there will be more. “The underground currents are washing the top part away and at a given moment yields to the weight,” he said.

State environmental authorities are already investigating the possible causes of the sinkholes that have left the lagoon without water.

The mayor of Nicolás Bravo, Ady González, said the lagoon, which is located next to the Chakanbakan archaeological site, was a popular tourist attraction. It was also a sanctuary area for jaguars.

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In July, a sinkhole in the middle of a Playa del Carmen central beach caused a 3-meter area of sand to collapse, however, after less than two weeks, it filled itself back in.

In 2017, a large sinkhole under the federal highway between Playa del Carmen and Cancun caused a large section of highway to collapse during the night, creating grief for local and visiting commuters.