Sinkhole swallows up houses in SW China

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The ground collapsed in Maoba village, Guangyuan city of Southwest China's Sichuan province, on the morning of Dec 12, 2013. The resulting crater was 60 by 40 meters and 30 meters deep. No one was hurt.[Photo by Gao Zhinong/Asianewsphoto]

A cave-in that took place in the city of Guangyuan in Sichuan province in the wee hours of Thursday destroyed rooms in two villagers' homes, but no casualties were reported.

The sinkhole resulted from a giant underground cave about 60 meters long, more than 40 meters wide and some 30 meters deep in Maoba village, Pingxi township, according to

More than 10 villagers lived around the site of the sinkhole. After the subsidence took place, about 40 chickens owned by Wang Jiashun, a villager, were buried underground, and the cave began getting larger and larger. 11 rooms in Wang's home collapsed, reported.

Wang said an incessant noise had been coming from the ground for several days. On Wednesday afternoon, the loud noise so unsettled Wang, his mother and wife that they fled the home, returning at about 7 pm.

Feeling uneasy, Wang stayed awake until 11:38 pm, when he heard another huge noise and felt the earth shake.

He pushed open the window only to find his house was sinking in dense smoke. Wang woke his family up and ran out without even stopping to put on his shoes.

Experts from the Sichuan Department of Land and Resources are investigating the cause of the subsidence.

It was also in Guangyuan that a previous subsidence happened in September 2012.

Starting as a small sinkhole, it got bigger and bigger, growing to 20 meters over the course of six days.

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