Factors Contributing to Karst Development in Southwestern Missouri, USA


It is generally known that karst topographies are formed due to dissolution of carbonate or evaporite bedrocks. In Missouri, USA, the subsurface is typically underlain by carbonate bedrock (limestone) that makes it amenable to karst processes, leading to features such as sinkholes. This study explored other factors or conditions that could necessitate development of karst terrain. A site in the vicinity of Brookline located within southwestern Missouri was studied for potential factors that could trigger development of karst features. Preliminary assessments showed potential development of sinkholes. Historical images of the area were obtained and analyzed. Three-dimensional (3-D) surface terrain models were also generated to determine surface flow direction. Additionally, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) data were collected and verified with borehole control to determine the characteristics of the bedrock. ERT data showed pervasively fractured and anomalously moist bedrock that offers suitable conditions for karst processes. Anthropogenic activities were observed as major drivers for the development of the karst features.

Meeting Name

30th Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems, SAGEEP 2017 (2017: Mar. 19-23, Denver, CO)


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Geophysics, Anthropogenic activity; Carbonate bedrock; Electrical resistivity tomography; Karst development; Karst terrains; Preliminary assessment; Suitable conditions; Threedimensional (3-d), Landforms

Geographic Coverage

Southwestern Missouri

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Mar 2017

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