Update: Bates County Sinkhole South of Rich Hill

The following information is an excerpt from the report Bates County Commissioners received from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources/Missouri Geological Survey Environmental Assistance Unit regarding the sinkhole just south of Rich Hill.

“On August 24, 2020, a road collapse in Bates county was reported to the Missouri Geological Survey.  The collapse is located just south of Rich Hill on SW County road 10008.  A geologist with the Geological Survey Program (GSP) observed the site of the collapse on August 25th.  At the time of that site visit, the collapse was approximately 22 feet long, 17 feet wide, and approximately 8 feet in depth.  Based on site observations and collaboration with Land Reclamation Program Staff, the geologist concluded that the collapse was likely related to historic coal mining activities in the region.

In order to better assess the risk associated with this feature and the most appropriate remediation strategy, GSP staff performed electrical resistivity tomography (ERT) analyses at the site on September 3rd and 4th.  ERT measures the relative resistance of earth materials to a generated electrical current.  This technique allows staff to model the composition of the subsurface without invasive work such as excavating.

Interpretation of the ERT data did not reveal areas likely to be void space at depth.  Although it cannot be stated for certain, it is the professional opinion of GSP staff that factors other than open underground space are the cause of observed geophysical anomalies.  Based on this data, we do not recommend significant additional excavation before repairing the collapse.”

Molly Starkey, RG
Missouri Geological Survey
Environmental Assistance Unit

This story courtesy of Larry Hacker, Bates County Southern Commissioner