A sinkhole has appeared in a northern Chinese city, completely swallowing a number of buildings.
The 10-meter sinkhole in Guangzhou claimed its first building at 16:20 local time, reports the Daily Telegraph. Three more buildings then fell in later that evening. Residents from the surrounding area were evacuated and nearby roads were closed off, while deafening noises could be heard as the land continued to crack and sink, reports the blog Shanghaiist. Fortunately no one was injured in the incident, and an investigation began into what caused the hole to appear, reports the Telegraph, noting that construction of a new subway station was taking place nearby.
Sinkholes — geological depressions which can be caused by human activities such as groundwater pumping and construction, notes Yahoo — are a growing problem in China’s cities. In Beijing, an abundance of underground bomb shelters has been blamed for an increasing number of sinkholes: in that city alone there were 54 collapses in 2007, 94 in 2008 and 129 in 2009, according to Caixin Online.
Last April, a girl had to be rescued after falling through the pavement into a sinkhole in the northern Chinese city of Xi’an, the Telegraph reports; in August, two people died after plunging into a 10-meter wide sinkhole in the northern city of Harbin, Caixin reported.