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karst geology

Bats make themselves at home in Missouri’s state parks

LEASBURG, Mo. – You don’t have to go far to find bats at Onondaga Cave State Park.

Just inside the interior glass doors that lead into one of America’s most spectacular caves, a dozen or so tiny balls of dark fur clustered together on the ceiling a few feet above visitors’ heads.

“Those are little brown bats and eastern pipstrelles, which are also called tri-colored,” said Tara Flynn, a naturalist with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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You don’t have to go far to find bats at Onondaga Cave State Park.

The ruins of a dream: Ha Ha Tonka’s castle

By Tom Uhlenbrock

Fire played a role in creating another of Ha Ha Tonka’s attractions, the ruins of Robert Snyder’s mansion. In the early 1900s, the wealthy Kansas City businessman purchased 5,000 acres that included a spring-fed lake.

He selected a site on the rocky summit above for his retirement home, saying, “I will fish and loaf and explore the caves of these hills, with no fear of intrusion.”

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Fire played a role in creating another of Ha Ha Tonka’s attractions, the ruins of Robert Snyder’s mansion.

Laughing waters: A hike to where Ha Ha Tonka got its name

In a karst landscape, mildly acidic groundwater moves through soluble bedrock, dissolving the limestone and dolomite into a subterranean maze of caves and fissures. Much of the Missouri Ozarks is karst, earning its nickname as the Cave State.

The first stop on a tour of the park led by Webb, the naturalist, was a natural bridge, where the trail led under a massive arch in the woods. He explained that the formation was caused by the collapse of a cave roof.

“Basically, that’s a sinkhole here and that’s a portion of the cave that did not collapse,” he said.

Front page blurb

In a karst landscape, mildly acidic groundwater moves through soluble bedrock, dissolving the limestone and dolomite into a subterranean maze of caves
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