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Laughing Waters

By Linda Tancs

Karst topography is the result of the dissolving action of water on bedrock and is characterized by caves, sinkholes, springs and natural bridges. It’s the prime attraction at Missouri’s Ha Ha Tonka State Park. According to Ozark legend, the park’s unusual name derives from a Native American phrase meaning “laughing waters.” Located on the Niangua arm of the Lake of the Ozarks, it boasts the state’s 12th-largest spring, discharging more than 48 million gallons of water daily into the stream that flows into the Lake of the Ozarks. Other karst features include the 70-foot-wide natural bridge and 500-foot-long sinkhole. Luckily, the majority of these sights are preserved and viewable from trails and boardwalks within the park’s Karst Natural Area.

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