KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One week after a Florida man was killed when a sinkhole swallowed his bedroom, a 15 foot deep sinkhole appears on a Kansas City street. Should we be worried?
One local professor of geography says no.
A limestone foundation, and moist conditions mean Missouri’s is a prime location for sinkholes like one that gave way in Nixa, Mo., six years ago.
“We are in an area of extensive limestone deposits,” said David Fox, a Professor of Geography at Park University in Parkville, Mo.
The large holes in the earth form wherever carbonate rocks are found. According to the Missouri Geological survey about 60 percent of the rock underneath Missouri is just that, compared to 20 percent worldwide.
“As the limestone under the surface is slowly dissolved by water seeping down through the soil first and then into the limestone,” said Fox.
While Kansas City sinkholes, like the one that occurred in Florida last week, tend to be more rare.
“Its definitely on the smaller end of the scale,” said Fox.
That doesn’t mean one can’t happen.
Thursday night, a small sinkhole gave way near 20th and Oak Street in Kansas City’s Crossroads district.
“There could be some contributing factor in terms of the weight of the material on the surface,” Fox said.
Fox says the snow could have been one of those contributing factors , but the collapse can happen anywhere at anytime.
“One of the things they would look for are cracks in your foundation or in your wall of your home,” he said.
Still, Fox says Kansas Citians shouldn’t be too worried.
“I’m really very confident in saying, the likelihood that a sinkhole would develop under a house here in the kc area is extremely low compared to that in Florida,” he said.
The areas most prone to sinkholes in Missouri are places like St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, and Joplin.
The city says the sinkhole on 20th and Oak streets was caused by a break in a sewer line that caused water to leak, eroding the soil below the street before it gave way.
They have fixed the sewer line and will pack the hole with rock and cement, before repairing the asphalt above. The work is expected to be done early next week.