Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/847

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

nished free of cost to the citizens (vide circular of the Chamber of Commerce).

No sooner had Findlay added natural gas to her attractive features than every town in the vicinity determined to seek for the fuel. The soil of Ohio and Indiana has been bored full of holes in this search. Many places have been successful, more have failed; for, as Dr. Orton says:[1] "Every county in the western half of Ohio, without exception, has already drilled one or more wells to the Trenton limestone, or at least has made a vigorous and determined effort to reach the new source of light and heat. Many counties outside this limit have spent and are still spending money lavishly in the same search. Even small villages, that have heretofore counted themselves too poor to provide such fundamental requirements of comfortable living as sidewalks, street-lamps, and graveled roadways, find no trouble in raising money enough to drill two thousand feet, or more, into the underlying rocks, in search for natural gas. When such towns attain any pronounced success in their drilling, they are sometimes temporarily embarrassed thereby, as there are, in many cases, no industries established in them to which a large flow of gas can be profitably applied."

The amount of gas given off from the numerous successful wells in the new fields in Ohio and Indiana is incredible. Findlay itself is estimated to possess a supply of 60,000,000 cubic feet per day. Bowling Green has several wells which yield over 900,000 cubic feet per day. Muncie, Indiana, with seven wells, is calculated to have 6,000,000 cubic feet a day. Noblesville has one well yielding about 2,000,000 cubic feet, and so on for a long list. Probably at least 100,000,000 cubic feet a day would be the yield of the wells which are now productive in this territory.

Where all this is occurring, it is a matter of vital importance to ascertain whether the supply will be a lasting one. There is little doubt but that it is a stored force, and, when once exhausted, as it must rapidly be, there will be no new supply. Yet the waste which goes on is simply appalling. Some of the wells burned for months before they were controlled or utilized. Almost every new well, wherever found, is lighted and allowed to burn at the rate of from 200,000 to 2,000,000 cubic feet per day, often for weeks. It is stated[2] that for several months of 1886 no less than 18,000,000 cubic feet of gas were burned in or about Findlay every day. The Karg well alone, it is estimated, caused a loss to the field of 150,000,000 cubic feet of this precious fuel. Now, it is true, there is less of this wanton waste going on. Owners of wells and others who are interested have come to see the importance

  1. "Ohio Geology," vol. vi, p. 117.
  2. Ibid., p. 133.