Huge sinkhole caused by karst terrain: Thanh Hoa authorities

By Ngoc Minh, Thanh Nien News

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The sinkhole that appeared on a road in a rural village in Thanh Hoa Province early Tuesday morning. Photo: Ngoc Minh

Authorities in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa said a huge sinkhole that appeared on a road in a local village, on Tuesday, is just a normal consequence of the area's karst terrain. 
At around 4am, the same day, a sinkhole measuring around 13 meters in width and 6 meters in depth had appeared on a road between two houses in Village 2 of Yen Dinh’s Quy Loc Commune.  
Representatives from the provincial Department of Science and Technology, Department of Natural Resources and Environment and the People’s Committee of Yen Dinh District convened an urgent meeting to discuss the incident the same day.
Duong Duc Hien, a resident of one of the affected homes, said he heard a huge crash and rushed out to investigate. He was shocked to find that a wall around his home had collapsed into a huge sinkhole on the road. 
He said it was the first time a sinkhole appeared in the village. 
Local police were sent to the site to monitor the situation and secure the site. 
In the morning, police evacuated those living around the sinkhole to secure locations.
The hole continued to widen throughout the morning and afternoon. At dawn, it had grown to more than 15-meters wide and 25-meters deep and had swallowed half of the road and many trees and rocks. 
According to Thanh Hoa authorities, the sinkhole may have appeared due to the karst topography, which is common throughout northern and central Vietnam. 
Le Tien Dung, a geologist, told VnExpress that underground caverns usually develop in karst terrain. External disruptions, such as well drilling, excavation and foundation construction can create which can cause the caverns to collapse. 
Officers from the provincial Department of Science and Technology say they will spend several days watching over the sinkhole.
If it does not develop further, they will fill it in with rocks and soil.

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