A 33-foot wide, 13-foot deep crater that appeared in the middle of a German cornfield this weekend was likely caused by the detonation of a World War II-era bomb, police say.
Residents in the western town of Ahlbach described the sound of a strong explosion and earthquake-like shaking around 3:50 in the morning on Sunday, apparently when the ordnance finally exploded more than seven decades after it was dropped.
A crater is pictured in a corn field after a bomb from World War II exploded in Halbach, Germany.
Judging by the shape and size of the crater, investigators believe the bomb was a 550-pound explosive that ignited thanks to a decomposing chemical detonator.
No one was injured in the blast.
City spokesman Johannes Laubach told the German news outlet Hessenschau he wasn’t surprised by what happened.
“We were quite a bomb target at the end of the Second World War” due to a railway depot that formerly operated in the area, he said.
He added, “We can be glad that the farmer was not in the field.”
The crater seen from a slightly higher altitude.
An estimated 10% of the 1.35 million bombs dropped on Germany between 1940 and 1945 failed to explode, a Smithsonian investigation found in 2016.
Even now, though the war ended in Europe in May 1945, upward of two thousand pounds of unexploded munitions are uncovered every year.
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