Missouri and MSU: The Deep Dark Secrets of the Cave State

Join us Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 7pm Central time as we continue to celebrate Missouri’s Bicentennial. This is the fifth of six webinars scheduled in 2021. Missouri and MSU: A shared past. A vision for the future. Click here to view the entire year’s programming.

Deep Dark Secrets of the Cave State: Missouri’s Fascinating and Hidden Geology, Biology, and Water Resources

The caves of the Ozarks are world famous and their abundance and influence on the culture of the region leads Missouri to be nicknamed the cave state. In addition to being a source of beauty and natural wonder, our caves, springs, sinkholes, and disappearing streams form a terrain that scientists term “karst”. The karst terrain shapes our cities, developments, and culture in unexpected ways. The thin, clayey soils that constrain and shape the types of agriculture practiced in the Ozarks are a legacy of our karst terrain. Urban areas, such as Springfield must carefully plan development to mitigate the risks of sinkholes and the susceptibility of karst terrains to flash flooding. Even our ecosystems are shaped by the karst. Missouri’s karst landscape harbors rare and fascinating fauna such as blind cavefish and crayfish that require special conservation and protection.

Our expert panel will discuss the exploration and mapping of Missouri’s caves and karst, the challenges of living on and managing a karst landscape, and the fascinating creatures that often exist in just a few caves.

Please feel free to submit questions when registering or during the webinar.

Meet our panelists

  • Dr. Toby Dogwiler (moderator), Department Head, Geography, Geology and Planning, Missouri State University
  • Dr. David Ashley, Retired Professor of Biology from Missouri Western State University
  • Mr. Jonathan Beard, Cave Specialist, Researcher and Published Author
  • Dr. Douglas Gouzie, Geology Professor, Departmental Director of Graduate Studies, Missouri State University