Missouri is home to more than 4,400 springs, which includes Big Spring in Carter County, one of the largest springs in the United States! Springs are just one of several karst features in Missouri. Along with sinkholes, caves and losing streams, springs are a product of carbonate bedrock such as limestone and dolomite, dissolving away. In some parts of the state, water entering into a sinkhole can travel more than 30 miles underground before resurfacing at a spring. It is extremely important to prevent pollution near sensitive karst areas because pollutants can quickly impact water resources many miles away from the contamination source. The department's Missouri Geological Survey also performs water traces to study the connections between recharge areas and springs. 

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