SOME EASILY ACCESSIBLE EXAMPLES OF MISSOURI KARST:
Some of the best places to look at Missouri Karst are on public land, or
developed, or set aside with access to visitors. These include:
- Karst Landscape--Grand Gulf State Park, Hahatonka State
- Springs--Big, Alley, Round--all National Park Service sites in the
Ozark National Scenic
Riverways. Also Greer Spring, (U.S. Forest Service, Winona Ranger District)
(Shannon County--Missouri Dept. of Conservation) and Maramec Spring (St.
- Caves-- Bridal Cave, Camdenton, Mo., Fantastic Caverns, Springfield,
Mo., Onondaga Cave State Park, Leasburg, Mo., Mark Twain Cave, Hannibal, Mo.,
Meramec Caverns, Stanton, Mo., Round Spring Caverns, Round Spring, Mo. These
commercial caves (some private, some public) present a good cross-section of
caves typically found in the state. Consult the commercial
caves list for details on them.
- Sinks--The main feature at Grand Gulf State Park is the sinkhole
collapse. Slaughter Sink
and Conical Sink in Phelps County are impressive--Conical is visible from a
public road, and
Slaughter is on Forest Service land. Driving the public roads of Perry
County, Mo., or Sinks Rd. in north St. Louis County, Mo., will give the
observer a great look at a sinkhole plain. Sinks and sinkholes abound in the
- Losing Streams--Many intermittent Ozark creeks go underground, and
down their course. Sinkin Creek in Shannon County and Hurricane Creek in
Oregon County are
well known losing streams, but there is really nothing to "see" at these
places. Watch for signs of
sinking creeks and losing streams as you hike throughout the Ozarks.
- Natural Bridges and Tunnels--Rockbridge State Park. As the name
implies, there is a really
nice natural bridge here, as well as much karst, and one of the longest caves
in the state, toured by
prior arrangement only during the winter, due to gray bats. Hootentown
Natural Arch in Stone
County, a local picnic spot, is one of the largest in the state.
- Estavelles--Ball Mill Resurgence near Brewer in Perry County, is a
sinkhole which resurges
after heavy rains, with the added feature that it becomes a "ball mill"--it
tumbles stones in it's basin
quite violently and noisily under those conditions.
- Karst Windows--Devil's Well near Akers, in Shannon County on the
Ozark National Scenic
Riverways, and Schnurbusch Karst Window (SKW) in Apple Creek, Perry County,
Catholic church grounds. Devil's Well lets the visitor look down another 80
feet from a viewing
platform at the bottom of a sinkhole onto an underground lake. The SKW is a
rock grotto where
water emerges from one end of a cave, flows about a hundred feet, then goes
for several miles.
For more ideas on where to go, visit the Missouri
Home Page, the commercial caves
list, write to the public agencies
with lands in Missouri, or go to the library and look up these books:
Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, by Thomas R.
second edition revised by Jerry D. Vineyard, 1990, Missouri Dept. of Natural
Rolla, MO 65401.
Springs of Missouri, Gerald Feder and Jerry D. Vineyard, 1974,
DGLS, Rolla, MO 65401.
Exploring Missouri's Legacy: State Parks and Historic Sites Edited
by Susan Flader,
1992, University of Missouri Press, Columbia and London.