A six-foot deep sinkhole suddenly opened up in the middle of a road and swallowed a van whole on the morning of June 7 in Guangxi Province, China. The driver, who was said to be the only person in the van at the time, was taken to a hospital for injuries.
The sinkhole appeared at the intersection of two busy thoroughfares in Guilin City.
The mysterious occurrence of sinkholes in China has escalated since May.
About 10 acres of land in Maohe Village of Liuzhou, Guangxi, collapsed on May 10, causing the subsequent collapse of many houses. The village’s 1,700 residents were evacuated. Water in nearby ponds dried up immediately due to the subsidence and many streets also developed cracks.
In the afternoon on June 1, the ground sank beneath a high-rise building in Hefei, Anhui, sank. Four people fell into the resulting 3-foot-deep hole and were injured.
The ground outside of a middle school in Tantuo Village of Naning, Guangxi, collapsed on the evening of June 1. Soon afterwards, four nearby villages successively developed sinkholes of various sizes. As a result, one building collapsed, six were left tilted, and one cracked apart; 844 people had to be evacuated. A cowshed also sank into the earth, killing a cow. The sunken land formed a long and narrow crack about 1,600 feet long.
Locals He Xue, Xiang Bin, and Wang Zhiyong were loading coal onto a 45-ton pickup truck at Xinyuan Mine in Urumqi on June 4. The ground suddenly collapsed. After the dust had settled, there was nothing but a large hole left. Excavators were used in an attempt to dig the men out, but by late evening neither the truck nor the men could be found. According to a witness, “It all happened in a split second, and everything went down.”
In Tanluo, Guangxi, a patrolman found two holes 60 feet away from an old hole located in a rice field at 9:40 p.m. on June 7. One of the holes was 3,200 square feet in size, and water from the rice field was draining into the hole, making a thunderous noise. By the next morning, three more holes were found.
A Chinese expert initially concluded that these occurrences were due to a karst system developing underground, because of a change in underground water levels. However, some people believe that the over-extraction of coal, petroleum, and natural gas is the main reason for the sudden ground collapses.
Read the Chinese article.
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