Did You Know Missouri is a Prominent Place for Sinkholes?

Distribution of sinkholes in Missouri

Sinkhole Distribution in Missouri

Did you know sinkholes are a common feature in Missouri? Most areas of Missouri are susceptible to sinkholes due to frequent exposure to water and the type of rocks underlying the soil. There are over 15,000 sinkholes in Missouri, and a lot more exist that are not reported or documented. If you are a homeowner or property owner, it’s important to be aware of the development of sinkholes and the warning signs associated with them.

How do sinkholes develop? Sinkholes develop in karst terrains where the bedrock is dissolved by water. As it rains, water moves through cracks in the limestone and slowly dissolves the rock. Through this process, voids are formed and sinkholes develop on the surface. Over time, the voids become larger.  As they continue to grow, they structurally impact homes and buildings, causing serious foundation problems. Also, sinkholes can occur on streets, parking lots, and in yards. Many sinkholes are circular when they collapse, while others are not visible on the surface.

How To Control Sinkholes in Missouri

Identify the Warning Signs

Unfortunately, sinkholes can develop over time or suddenly. They can form in all sizes, they can be deep or shallow, and can even be large or small.

The best way to identify sinkhole activity is to be aware of these common warning signs.

  • Zigzag wall cracks
  • Cracks located in the walls where windows and doors are present
  • Ceiling and wall separating
  • Depressions in your yard
  • New water puddles in the yard
  • Slumping trees, fence posts, or other objects
  • Wilting vegetation
  • Hard to open or close windows and doors

Controlling the Sinkhole
If you notice a hole, secure the sinkhole by using warning tape or a rope to make sure people stay away from it. Next, fill the hole with sand, then monitor the hole and watch for changes in its size. Notify your insurance company, then contact a city inspection department or a professional engineer.

How are voids detected? In addition to being used for foundation repair and slab lifting, a ground-penetrating radar (GPR) unit will be used to detect voids developed from sinkholes. A GPR has many advantages over X-ray methods. It uses a benign electromagnetic pulse and a high-frequency antenna to accurately locate voids. The GPR unit is portable to the site, making the process fast with instant results.

For more information about sinkholes and voids in the Missouri area, contact our team of experts.

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