SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — After a small sinkhole appeared in U.S. Highway 60 on Thursday evening, many had questions, including how the hole got there in the first place.
Experts say this erosion feature might not be a sinkhole necessarily, but it still caused some major headaches for drivers.
“It was a little frustrating because I tried to take the west, west bypass and it was closed, and I have to take the exit to Cabool,” said local driver Gabriella Glendenning.
Despite the traffic mess, Greene County geologist Matt Forir isn’t sure how to classify the cause.
“A lot of time we actually kind of mislabel sinkholes,” Forir said. “Every hole in the ground is a sinkhole for most people, I guess. But you know, they all don’t lead to giant caves or voids in the rock. Very few of them do.”
Forir said there are many different factors that can cause sinkholes and weather plays a big role.
“Of course, when we have times of drought that does dry up the dirt, causes cracks in the soil. And so then when the rain comes back, that rain, that stormwater runoff finds its way into those cracks and goes subsurface,” said Forir.
Here in the Springfield area, the Karst topography makes sinkholes more likely to form.
“We have almost 8,000 sinkholes currently in our database at Greene County,” Forir said. “And we add and subtract these all the time.”
But, Forir added that sinkholes are generally nothing to be afraid of.
“If you find one or you suspect one, if you, if you live in Greene County, give us a call,” said Forir. “We’ll come up, check it out, or you can send us some pictures. A number of ways to do that in the city. You can call our same people to do my job, but on the city side, they can help you out as well.”