A large sinkhole has appeared in Germany in the middle of a housing estate.

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The sinkhole, approximately 40m wide and 20m deep claimed a car as its sole victim despite appearing in the middle of the town of Schmalkalden narrowly missing nearby homes.

No-one is believed to have been injured, but 25 residents were evacuated from six houses. The mayor of Schmalkalden said alternative accommodation would be arranged for them until it was safe to return.

The sinkhole appeared around 3am by residents who heard "unusual noises". A local geology official said it was unclear why the sinkhole had appeared but it is thought that underground rock formations had broken up creating a cavity beneath the sinkhole area.

Authorities will fill the hole with gravel.

Guatemala sinkhole

Earlier this year a giant Guatemalan sinkhole appeared following tropical storms and claimed a three storey building.

It was not the first time such sinkholes have appeared in Guatemala, images of a similar one from 2007 were flashed around the world.

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