Looking Into The Water


There isn't a Manual of Missouri Springs Information, but the following list will give you a good basic grounding in Missouri geology and hydrology. The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources' Geological Survey and Resource Assesment Division, and Water and Soil Conservation Division have books and pamphlets which address karst and springs issues. Inquire at the Publications Desk, Missouri Division of Geology and Land Survey, P. O. Box 250, Rolla, Missouri 65402 (573-368-2100) for a list of publications or check out Online Publications at Virtual Publications Desk.

Most of these books are also available through public libraries, or through interlibrary loan. A few may be obtained only through cave specialty bookstores,such as the National Speleological Society bookstore. (http://www.caves.org for more information.) A few are hard to get, but they are invaluable for what they provide.


Springs of Missouri, Jerry D. Vineyard and Gerald L. Feder, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Land Survey, 1974,1982. Excellent guide to hydrology of major spring systems, suitable for the general reader. Still in print; available from the DGLS publications address above.

The Large Springs of Missouri, H. C. Beckman and N. S. Hinchey, Missouri Geological Survey and Water Resources, Vol. XXIX, 2nd series, 1944. Out of print, fifty years old, and hard to find except in libraries, but this book is worth the search.

Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri, Thomas R. Beveridge, (second ed. rev. Jerry D. Vineyard), Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, Division of Geology and Land Survey, Rolla, MO, 1978, 1990. Designed for the layman, heavy emphasis on karst, but something for everyone. Locations and directions, but permission MUST be obtained before visiting most sites.

Ozark Hydrology: A Predictive Model, Tom Aley, Missouri Speleology, Vol. XVIII, No. 1-4, Missouri Speleological Survey, 7205 Manchester Kansas City, Mo. 64133, published in 1978. A rather technical analysis of the Hurricane Creek area karst hydrology (Shannon/Oregon/Carter Counties), but much of the hydrological theory applies over the Ozark karst region.

Missouri Geology, A. G. Unklesbay and Jerry D. Vineyard, University of Missouri Press, Columbia and London, 1992. A good overview to the geology of the state; the writing sometimes gets a bit confusing to a non-geologist, however.

The Springs of Greene County, Missouri Loring Bullard, Kenneth C. Thomson, and James E. Vandike, MDNR-GS-RAD, Rolla, Mo., 2001. Excellent coverage of the geology and history of the title subject, with a good treatment of the mineral spring and spa industry.

"Ebb and Flow Springs in the Ozarks", Josiah Bridge, Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, Bulletin Vol. 7, Number 1, 1923. This slim volume is hard to obtain, but presents field observations on four of the eight ebb and flow springs known in the state.

Missouri Speleology Vol. 32, Number 4, Missouri Speleological Survey, 7205 Manchester Kansas City, Mo. 64133, 1992. Three short articles about Missouri springs.

Cave Files, Missouri Speleological Survey, Inc. A vertical and digital file of reports and information on Missouri springs archived in conjunction with the files of the MSS. This collection is accessible by permission only, but legitimate research use is encouraged. Accessing the collection obligates the user to deposit copies of his or her research, once it is finished. Contact the MSS via one of its officers, listed on the MSS Website.


Geology of Missouri. An online synopsis of the geologic record in the state, arranged by geological period, with related topics.

Ozark Cave Diving Alliance. Website of Midwest cave divers group, who conduct professional research in Missouri springs. This is NOT a recreational dive group. See Information for Divers elsewhere on this site.

USGS and NPS Web Sites:


Webster's Home Cave. A beginners guide to caves and caving specific to Missouri.

Speleology: The Study of Caves, George W. Moore & G. Nicholas Sullivan, Cave Books, St. Louis, MO, 1964, 1978. Basic introduction to cave sciences of geology, biology and human cave use. Suitable for people with a high school grasp of science.

Caves of Missouri, J Harlen Bretz, Missouri Geological Survey, Rolla, MO, 1956. This book is out-of-print, out-of-date, and hard to find, but it was the first modern definitive work of speleology authored by a geologist who based his conclusions on firsthand observation. Addresses several cave/spring systems.

Exploring Missouri's Legacy: State Parks and Historic Sites, Susan Flader, ed., University of Missouri Press, Columbia and London, 1992. Overview text and picture book. Articles on Missouri cave and karst parks make this book useful for history and geology.

Missouri: The Cave State, H. Dwight Weaver & Paul A. Johnson, Discovery Enterprises, Jefferson City, MO, 1980. A good overview of the history and geology of Missouri caves and caving, arranged by watershed, and with special emphasis on commercial caves.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But these references can get you pointed in the right direction. Much work remains to be done to completely catalog and understand the workings of Ozark springs.

Inquiries can also be forwarded to: joschaper@socket.net. I may be able to answer or direct your queries.

This page last updated on May 2, 2006. Return to Missouri Springs homepage.