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Massive cave-in stokes familiar fears in Saxony-Anhalt

The Local · 2 Apr 2010, 12:06

Published: 02 Apr 2010 12:06 GMT+02:00

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The circular hole, resembling a gigantic bomb crater, was discovered on Tuesday by a local boy, according to a statement from the authorities in Bernburg, who have warned further collapses are possible.

The crater, measuring 30 metres across and 40 metres deep, appears to be the result of a collapsed salt deposit, they said. They have closed down the area, which is a disused rubbish landfill, and warned local residents that other parts of the area may also be unstable.

“Further collapses cannot be ruled out,” said a City of Bernburg statement. “Access for the former landfill is strictly forbidden. There is still an acute danger.”


Such sudden collapses are not an unknown phenomenon in the region. Roads have had to be moved in the past because of cave-ins.

Last July, 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.

Authorities have sealed off the landfill area and blocked a nearby country road while authorities from the State Office for Geology and Mining could investigate, the statement said.

Story continues below…

The most obvious cause of the cave-in is that underground ice has thawed after the long winter and the water has dissolved the salt deposit.

The ground is part of an landfill that has been disused for decades.

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Your comments about this article

18:44 April 2, 2010 by Henckel
In my home town of Ludington, Michigan, it is said that the extraction of salt brine by the salt refining industry here (1885-1932) has produced a number of caverns under the city that were formerly filled with rock salt, which was melted by pumping in hot water, then pumped out as brine for processing. There was a report, too, in 1866 that it was believed that similar caverns existed under Lancester, Pennsylvania, a hypothesis that was reached when a blind species offfne of the supposed caverns and was caught in a nearby river.
19:35 April 2, 2010 by wxman
"The circular hole, resembling a gigantic bomb crater..." I just love when journalists spout stuff they know nothing about. The only thing this has in common with a bomb crater is they are both holes in the ground. A bomb crater has a raised edge and is surrounded by debris thrown from the impact and explosion.
23:14 April 2, 2010 by zeulf
Hej Henckel My Mom came from Ludington, many pleasant memories of the Beachs, Snow and the unforgetable Alwives
19:20 April 6, 2010 by Henckel
@zeuf: Thanks for the comment. I had a typo in my post, I meant to say that the blind species that escaped from the similar caverns under Lancvaster, Pennsylvania, was a species of blind fish. I didn't get a chance to correct it sooner because of the Easter holiday.
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