China Sinkhole Swallows Playground, Damages School (VIDEO)

06/16/2010 01:43 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Sinking land has created an enormous hole in front of an elementary school and swallowed an entire playground in Ningxiang county in China's Hunan province, the Associated Press reports.

The sinkhole started to yield in mid-January, at first forming a hole twenty meters in diameter. Intense springtime rainfall has since accelerated the hole's expansion, which has, in turn, caused damage to area buildings.

According to local officials, many families living nearby have already been evacuated, with government subsidies provided.

At least eight additional sinkholes have formed in various Chinese regions in the past few weeks, sparking fears among residents that the holes could be an early indication of other seismic activity in the country.

See Chinese TV footage of the sinkhole here: