Giant crater opens up and swallows car in eastern Germany | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 01.11.2010
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Giant crater opens up and swallows car in eastern Germany

Early Monday, a resident on a quiet street in eastern Germany heard a loud noise and called the police. Upon arrival they found that a massive sinkhole had opened up, taking the road, a car and a garage door with it.

An aerial view of the landslide

It's still unclear what caused the deep sinkhole to suddenly develop

A super-sized pothole 20 meters (66 feet) deep suddenly formed early Monday morning in the town of Schmalkalden in the state of Thuringia in eastern Germany.

One car precariously stood at the edge of the hole while another had already been lost to bottom of the pit. Yet the homes surrounding the crater remained standing and no one was injured.

Several homes in the neighborhood were evacuated and officials warned that more earth could collapse around the hole.

Officials perturbed

Lutz Katschmann of the state of Thuringia's environment and geology office said the plan would be to fill in the crater as soon as possible. He said it wasn't clear why the ground had collapsed, but that a cavity must have formed as a salt column, calcium sulphate or limestone dissolved.

"We geologists believe it is a natural sinkhole, but we don't know what exactly has caused it," he said.

Katschmann said that about 20 smaller sinkholes form in Thuringia each year.

Author: Holly Fox (AP, dpa)
Editor: Matt Hermann

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