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Wednesday, November 3, 2010
The Open-Up Earth
The a large crater in the central German town of Schmalkalden on Monday. - Photo: AP
An enormous crater of about the depth of 20 meters and 30 to 40 meters wide has opened up in the middle of a subdivision overnight in a usually quiet residential manicured-lawns of an eastern German town on Monday, November 1.
Residents of Schmalkalden in Germany were shocked when the giant sinkhole opened up in their town.
Although there was no injury, it forced the evacuation of about 25 people in nine houses. Residents from 23 nearby buildings were evacuated too.
Emergency services were called to the scene after a resident heard an unusual deafening noises - of rushing water and gravel trucks being emptied - when the earth moved.
Thuringia state's environment and geology wasn't immediately clear why the ground gave way although there is the possibility of rock formations underground broke up, creating a cavity.
The gaping earth swallowed a car, with another being dangled precariously over the edge.
A row of garages were in danger of collapsing with one its door being swallowed too.
Workers had started with repairs on the same day, with estimation of about 1,000 truckloads of gravel to fill the hole.
A sinkhole of almost 200 feet deep opened up in the middle of the northern part of a Guatemala City on May 30, in the midst of the city intersection.
It had put Guatemala in the spotlight once again in less than a week, after the region was battered by a large volcanic eruption from Pacaya volcano that rained down a blanket of ash. Ttropical storm Agatha soon followed resulting in an estimation of 132 people lost their lives in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador due to the intense weather.
The shaft-like crater was blamed or made on very poor sewage system and massive underground water torrents created by the tropical storm Agatha.
Sinkholes - producing bowl-shaped areas or shafts like as in this Guatemala City - can be formed either when the bedrock or soil of an area are removed by water or when ground water is removed, leaving gaps underground.
They can happen suddenly, as this, with the land just cracked open., or over a period of time.
No lives lost although it forced more than 100,000 people to be evacuated from their homes.