The town is located near the site of a former calcium salt mine, and there was another landslide about eight years ago in the same area that was filled with concrete. Friday’s crater opened near a street after a landslide occurred the day before.
While district official Reinhard Krebs said the homes did not appear to be damaged, their residents will have to sleep elsewhere until Monday based on a surveyor’s recommendation. The authorities also plan to continue investigating for ground instability around the area, which is known to be near a 250-metre deep underground chasm.
The residents of Tiefenort know they live on a “moving underground,” but there is no cause for panic, Krebs said.
Germany is no stranger to dangerous ground shifts resulting from old mines.
In August 2009, three people were killed when their house collapsed into a lake in the Saxony –Anhalt town of Nachterstedt. The area near the town was extensively mined for lignite, or brown coal, during the 19th century, meaning the ground was shot through with hundreds of tunnels.