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    Russian villagers terrified as 105-foot-wide sinkhole – deep enough to fit a 16-storey building inside – suddenly opens up in a field near their homes

    Mushroom pickers from a Russian village suffered ‘shock’ when they saw how a 165 ft deep hole had opened up in front of them.
    The crater – some 105 ft wide – is deep enough to fit a 16-storey building.
    While no-one was hurt, children in nearby Neledino village in Nizhny Novgorod region are having nightmares that similar sinkholes could swallow their homes while they are asleep, say locals.
    Russian emergency experts say the phenomenon is natural – and was not caused by explosions or eruptions as were similar-looking holes in the Russian Arctic.
    Karst sinkholes or funnels form from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite and gypsum.
    The gaping chasm was spotted in a field by locals as they gathered wild mushrooms, a Russian tradition at this time of year.
    ‘It was pure luck that no-one got injured,’ said a local resident.
    ‘We didn’t hear anything when it happened.
    But we got really scared as the hole is really huge, and to think that something like this might suddenly appear anywhere is frightening.
    ‘The whole Nizhny Novgorod region got shaken by this sinkhole.’
    The village is some 93 miles from Nizhny Novgorod city where England played during the recent World Cup.
    Yelena, who lives in Neledino, which has 111 residents, said locals were waiting for experts to examine the hole and assess the risk of more suddenly forming.
    ‘They are due any moment,’ she said.
    ‘The sink hole is so close to our village.
    ‘There is no guarantee that another one will not appear right in the middle of it – or worse under a house.
    ‘We are very concerned indeed.
    ‘Children have seen the hole and many are worried the same thing might suddenly happen when they are asleep at night.’
    The Emergencies Ministry has fenced off the hole.
    A spate of newly-formed Arctic craters or holes in recent years – especially in Yamal peninsula – are believed to be caused by explosions of pockets of methane gas in thawing permafrost.

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