August 12, 2018

There was no mushroom cloud, but on December 10, 1967, a nuclear bomb part of the Project Gasbuggy, exploded less than sixty miles from Farmington, New Mexico. The goal of the code-named Gasbuggy, was to see if a smaller underground nuclear explosion would stimulate the release of natural gas trapped in dense shale deposits. Gasbuggy called for a 29 kiloton warhead to be set off four thousand feet underground in an existing, low-productivity gas well. The 4,042-foot-deep detonation created a molten glass-lined cavern about 160 feet in diameter and 333 feet tall. It collapsed within seconds. Subsequent measurements indicated fractures extended more than 200 feet in all directions and significantly increased natural gas production. In 1969 another nuclear 43 kiloton device was detonated at 8,500 ft northwest of Rulison, Colorado and a few years later near Rifle. In 1973 at Rio Blanco, Colorado three 33-kiloton nuclear heads were detonated. The third and final nuclear reservoir stimulation. The 1967 nuclear detonation reportedly led to the production of 295 million cubic feet of natural gas with Tritium contamination. The entire program was cancelled in 1975, amidst considerable public criticism. A plaque marks the site of Project Gasbuggy in the Carson National Forest, 90 miles northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Source and image AOGHS – Nuclear war head lowered into a well in New Mexico)