A massive sinkhole in Chicago's South Deering neighbourhood has swallowed three cars today (Thursday), injuring one person.

The victim is in serious-to-critical condition at Northwestern Memorial Hospital after being pulled from the hole, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

Two cars were already inside the hole when the fire department arrived in the early morning, at around 5.30 am. A third one slipped into the hole after the crews arrived. The hole reportedly continued to expand and nearly doubled in size in only 30 minutes, according to Chicago news station WGNtv.

The sinkhole opened after heavy rains and flooding hit the area overnight.

"A sinkhole is a surface depression caused by the subsidence of the ground due to dissolution of a soluble rock [usually limestone, chalk salt or gypsum - ie 'karst' areas] at depth," Dr Andrew R. Farrant, Geologist and kart Geomorphologist at the British Geological Survey told IBTimes UK. "Natural events such as heavy rain, flooding, drought and earthquakes can trigger sinkholes, but humans are often a contributory factor."

Last month, CCTV footage showing a man plunging to his death in a sinkhole in the city of Shenzhen went viral online. The video showed 25-year-old security guard Yang Jiabin walking in the city's Futian district when the ground suddenly opened beneath his feet.

Another picture of the sinhole
Another picture of the sinhole (Nancy Loo/Twitter0