Land Collapses in Guangzhou Swallows Building

A large piece of land collapsed near a subway construction site on Guangzhou’s Kangwang Road, dragging surrounding buildings underground. The collapsed site is 300 sq metres wide and nine metres deep, and still expanding.

Five shops fell into the hole, and one building was torn apart from top to bottom. The collapse caused electric cables to malfunction, resulting in power cut in 3,000 residential units nearby. No casualties have been announced so far.

Neighboring buildings were evacuated and streets were blocked by police. “Gas could be smelt from over 30 metres away, and deafening noises could be heard as the land continued to crack and sink,” the Shanghaiist reports.

Land Collapses or (Sinkholes) are, unfortunately, nothing new. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, some sinkholes are human-induced. “New sinkholes have been correlated to land-use practices, especially from groundwater pumping and from construction and development practices.” They also occur in areas where the rock beneath the land surface can be easily dissolved by groundwater.

Human-induced or not, sinkholes are getting a lot of press these days. In China’s Guangxi province last year, a sinkhole formed after a local school dug a well to ease its water shortage. Business Insider reports that in Beijing, massive bomb shelters, “constructed amid fears of an impending nuclear attack during the height of Chinese-Soviet tensions,” may be contributing to the problem.

But they certainly aren’t limited to China. In 2011, a Florida sinkhole gobbled up “a garbage bin, an oak tree, the back wall of the building housing a salon and racks of supplies.” A woman in Guatemala City discovered a 3-feet-wide, 40-feet-deep sinkhole beneath her bed. And in Ohio, a massive sinkhole caused part of a state highway to collapse.