November 2nd, 2010
10:24 AM ET

Giant sinkhole opens in Germany

Repairs are to begin Wednesday on a 65-foot-deep (20 meters) sinkhole that opened in the eastern German town of Schmalkalden on Monday, local authorities said.

The sinkhole, which measured more than 130 feet (40 meters) across, swallowed a car and forced the evacuation of 25 people in nine houses, the regional newspaper Thueringer-Allgemeine reported.

Officials told the paper more than 1,000 truckloads of gravel would be needed to fill the hole.

Residents reported hearing a loud roar as the earth gave way early Monday morning, according to the newspaper report. The cause of the sinkhole had not been determined.

Jürgen Reinholz, environment and agriculture minister for the state of Thuringia, said natural causes were suspected, according to Spiegel Online International.

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Filed under: Germany • World
soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. romualdo

    Jürgen Reinholz just announced that instead of gravel they will fill it up with water and finally give the community the pool they have ben asking for.

    November 3, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. LTSwash

    In France they call that a pension plan

    November 3, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Harry

    Wouldn't it be prudent to figure out what caused the sinkhole, before filling it?

    November 3, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Kurt

      Obviously, YOU don't work for the government.

      November 3, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Harry,
      You're right, it is necessary to know what caused the sinkhole before one fills it up, but unfortunately, that's rarely the case. I'm a geologist and I've seen too many incidences whereby people have ignored the underlying geological processes that trigger events like this, and they end up wondering why their solutions never work.
      One example involved a sinkhole that formed in a city nearby where I lived. Now, where I live and where this occurred is in what's known as a karst environment...an area with soluble bedrock, like limestones and dolomites. Basically where a lot of caves and sinkholes forms as the bedrock is dissolved away. Well, the local government and civil engineers decided to fill the sinkhole up with gravel and dirt and patch it up. Well, fortunately, thus far, nothing bad has happened, but people often complain that when they drive over the area, they can feel the ground vibrate a little. I've not drove over there...I'm not brave enough. lol, but I think it'll only be a matter of time before something much larger opens up and it'll be interesting to see how they handle that.

      November 3, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lisa

      I like Steve's answer, it also seems that the most recent sink whole's over the past year or so are @ a road.... were they have excavated and put in Storm and sewage sewers, water lines, and under grown wires.

      November 3, 2010 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpeedyGonzolez

      Lisa – "under grown wires" – hmmm how about "under ground wires".

      November 4, 2010 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  4. Really?

    It was aliens. End of story.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • johnthinksso

      BS. Nancy Pelosi was nowhere near Germany this week.

      November 3, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      No, silly! Someone obviously googled 'google' and that caused a small black hole which made that whole part of the neighborhood disappear.

      November 3, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack Spears

      @Chad. Huh! what's your point.

      November 4, 2010 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
    • kbaredge126c

      Nice one Chad.

      November 4, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Really?

    It was aliens, end of story.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. cavemanstyle

    The deficit has struck again : )

    November 3, 2010 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  7. FR3SH

    Here comes the Locust Horde.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  8. LTSwash

    Someone should really go down and see if they can find Mel Gibsons career

    November 3, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • ratofgod

      sweet!

      November 3, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • thizlewashington

      hhhhahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahaha

      November 3, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      The author of the article said "swallowed". You said "someone should go down".
      Beavis and Butthead return.

      November 4, 2010 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lars Kuehne

    I live near this place and I can confirm, that the officials there found strong evidence that this whole is less probably caused by mining (because this area has never been active mining ground), but rather by an underground salt reservoir that got washed out by water. Over the years this must washed out the ground, thus leaving the whole that now everybody can observe.

    November 3, 2010 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      "Hole, not "whole", unless you're talking about the whole hole, and not a part of the hole.....

      November 3, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ono

      Thanks for your observation. My son lives in Schmalkalden and I appreciate information from a local source. I do hope the city leaders get to the bottom of this event:)

      November 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy

      @John: Can you have a part of a hole?

      November 3, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Orujam

      @ Jimmy: Sure thing.... if it's a donut hole.

      November 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • varks

      John, let's see you write a sentence in German. I'll wait....

      November 3, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack Spears

      @John. It could be that the 'W' is silent

      November 4, 2010 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  10. Fenarkleman

    Didn't a similar sinkhole happen in Guatemala? What happens when these sinkholes meet? Who's a sinkhole? Are you a sinkhole?

    November 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpeedyGonzolez

      Now you know where to find your peanut of a brain.

      November 4, 2010 at 2:26 am | Report abuse |
  11. Kurt

    Wait. I thought this was supposed to be an article about the U.S. economy.

    November 3, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack Spears

      Now that's what I'd call 'optimism'

      November 4, 2010 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  12. flossmore

    Dump the entire Senate and House into it, then fill it in with concrete.....something accomplished!

    November 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Orujam

      Mightn't be such a bad idea, but then who runs the country, the KKK??

      November 3, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpeedyGonzolez

      Not unless the hole ends in Hell will it be deep enough for the House and Senate.

      November 4, 2010 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Axplayer

      Yes, We Can!!

      November 4, 2010 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  13. Largo Barbara

    Perfect analogy to our economy. Sinkhole.

    November 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  14. M@!

    Shouldn't that person at least pull their car into the garage?

    November 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    this is what happens when you cut down every tree.

    a friend of mine who works for monsanto says they toss a handful of monsanto seeds onto farms and when the seeds spread they sue those farms for using monsanto seeds illegally. i just bought the stock.

    November 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
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