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Missouri sinkholes: what you need to know

Missouri sinkholes: what you need to know

“The show me state” isn’t the only nickname Missouri goes by — it’s also called “the cave state,” and for good reason. These caves are the cause of why the US Geological Survey listed Missouri as one of seven states most prone to sinkholes. In Missouri alone there are more than 15,000 sinkholes.  And while sinkholes have a reputation of being a dangerous nuisance in southern Missouri, they are fewer and less troublesome in Boone County.

The map below from the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources shows mapped sinkholes in the state. The sinkhole areas seem clustered around towns and highways because those are the areas that are purposefully mapped.


“What we've found, just like [in the area] from Springfield to Nixa is when we intentionally make a map, we discover a lot of sinkholes," Sinkhole expert Doug Gouzie said.

Listen to Gouzie talk about known sinkhole areas in the state as well as some limitations of the DNR map.
The state of Missouri has been implementing sinkhole related programs and regulations since 1853. As the timeline below shows, by the early 1970s Boone County began taking steps to regulate sinkhole prone areas in an effort to keep wildlife and community residents safe and healthy.


Major Sinkhole Related Events in Boone County