A week ago on 18 Dec, a Chinese
villager collecting wild fruits on a mountain, in Hunan
Province, noticed on a rocky
hillside a narrow crack about 2-3cm in width.
When four days later on the winter
solstice he went to check the crack again, he found
to his great astonishment that the gap on the ground broadened
dramatically, and around the area more cracks appeared.
The size of the cracks kept increasing at a
rate of 2-3cm per hour; by 23 Dec, the biggest one measured
1.8m wide, which forced the evacuation of 27 households in
a nearby village that are under the threat of a landslide
disaster, as the top part of the hill with the total volume
estimated at 300,000 cubic metres could collapse at any time.