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article imageGaping 30 metre wide sinkhole appears in Durham and gets bigger

By Kev Hedges     Aug 25, 2014 in Environment
Bishop Auckland - A gaping void has appeared suddenly in County Durham in the countryside of north-east England — safety officials have estimated the sinkhole to be 100ft (30 metres) wide — and it's getting bigger.
The huge sinkhole, believed to be formed because of mine work, was first spotted on Thursday at Cowshill, in the rural countryside region of Weardale — and by Monday the hole has become three times it previous size. In fact, the hole is now so deep it's not possible to see the bottom.
When it was first discovered on Thursday by a woman walking her dog, it was no more than about five metres wide. However, when her partner John Hensby, 71, decided to look for himself, he said it had grown three times bigger by Friday morning.
Many of the local farmers are worried that sheep may plunge down sinkhole and county council officials have had to close a public footpath that runs close to the newly-formed hole in the ground. Mr Hensby said:
Sam came back and she was looking quite shocked. She told me that a hole had appeared and I said I best go and have a look. At the time, it was about five metres round. Throughout Thursday night it got bigger and bigger until it was about three times that size on Friday morning. It is about 35 metres wide and you can't see the bottom of it. The sound was phenomenal. We could hear rumbling and smashing and crashing from down below – all of these great lumps of earth were falling in and falling in. If one of the dogs or the sheep fell in we would never see them again.
The local weather forecast predicts long spells of rain to arrive by Monday and Tuesday and this could make the hole substantially bigger and far more perilous to go near very soon.
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