You probably know that Missouri is lovingly nicknamed "the cave state" for having over 5,700 caves, surpassed only by Tennessee with 7,000. And for the most part, they are found primarily here in the Ozarks, right below our feet.
A sinkhole is a natural depression or hole in the surface of the earth caused by the removal of soil or bedrock, often both, by water. When acidic rain water seeps into the ground, it eats away at the bedrock and the layer of soil above it collapses towards the cavernous earth below.
Missouri, with its limestone-heavy soils, is especially prone to sinkholes. The state, especially the Springfield area, resides on what is known in the geology world as a Karst Valley.
Sinkholes can be costly to fill in and repair, but unfortunately not much can be done to prevent their formation.
However, the best defense is always a good offense and prospective builders can try to choose areas where there is an unlikely chance of sinkholes occuring.
Residents and prospective builders can find out if a sinkhole has been located on a certain piece of property by going to the Greene County Assessor's Web site. Once you're there, follow these instructions:
Get out and explore Ozarks geology by checking out these and other books at your local branch of the Springfield Greene County Library.