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Jens Meyer/AP/Press Association Images
Germany

Slideshow: Huge sinkhole opens suddenly in German town

Residents forced to evacuate as expanding sinkhole sucks vehicle underground.

MORE THAN 20 PEOPLE were forced to leave their homes in Schmalkalden, central Germany, yesterday as a huge sinkhole opened in a residential area.

No one was injured when the enormous hole developed.

Sinkholes can be caused by the underground erosion of salt beds or soluble sedimentary rocks, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Water flowing through those rocks can erode them, causing caverns to develop beneath the surface which can then suddenly collapse.

The hole has a radius of 30 metres, and is believed to be about 20 metres deep. An empty car was pulled underground as the hole expanded, according to Der Spiegel.

This ITN report shows footage of the crater:

Slideshow: Huge sinkhole opens suddenly in German town
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  • Germany Landslide

    In this aerial photo, a giant landslide under a residential street is seen in Schmalkalden, central Germany. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)
  • Germany Landslide

  • Germany Landslide

  • Germany Landslide

  • Germany Landslide

  • Germany Landslide

  • Germany Landslide