Subsidence, both natural and human-induced, frequently results in loss and damage to property and has the potential to cause injuries to people. Subsidence resulting from mining has caused widespread damage in many parts of the United States. In the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area, in the Midwestern United States, century-old mining of Pennsylvanian age limestone, by room-and-pillar method, has left behind numerous mine openings of various sizes, many of which progressively deteriorate resulting in subsidence.
During the second half of the present century many of the abandoned mines in Greater Kansas City were converted for secondary use that includes office space, warehouse, retail business and light manufacturing. Roof bolting and pillar reinforcement are standard measures employed to ensure long-term stability of these converted mines. However, many old mines lying in a state of abandonment for several decades fail periodically. Many incidences of subsidence, occurring over a 25-year period, have been recorded in the area. Some of the recent cases of subsidence are discussed in the paper. A discussion of the hazard associated with subsidence in an urban area, with suggestions for mitigation of the hazard, is presented. A brief review of the geology of the area along with important geotechnical properties of pertinent rock units is also included.