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“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.00000178-cc7d-da8b-a77d-ec7d2f890000The 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.00000178-cc7d-da8b-a77d-ec7d2f890003 “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. 00000178-cc7d-da8b-a77d-ec7d2f880000The 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 00000178-cc7d-da8b-a77d-ec7d2f8a0000

Mapping sinkholes

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The areas in red on the map below are where the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) has documented as having sinkholes.

Sinkhole location data is from the Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources. This location data and more can be found on its website.  

According to Doug Gouzie, sinkhole expert and Associate Professor of Geology at Missouri State University, different agencies like the Missouri Dept. of Transportation (MoDOT) report known sinkhole locations to the DNR.

"When we intentionally make a map, we discover a lot of sinkholes"

"When MoDot goes out to build a roadway . . . they have to go mark where the sinkholes are. 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," Gouzie said.   

Sinkholes that have been on private property and known about by the owners for generations, Gouzie said, probably won't be reported and won't show up on any DNR map.