In the early days of oil drilling, when tools were basic and technology was lacking, every new oil well sunk into the ground ran the risk of a blowout. A blowout occurs when a high-pressure pocket of crude oil or natural gas is breached causing the oil or gas to shoot up the well and exit with an explosive force and create a “gusher”. Before the invention of blowout preventers, gushers were seen as natural consequences of oil drilling, an icon of oil exploration, and a symbol of new-found wealth.
Despite the romanticism, gushers were extremely dangerous and wasteful. They have killed workmen, destroyed equipment, and coated the landscape with millions of barrels of oil. The destruction to wildlife and to the environment is catastrophic.
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The Lakeview Gusher reflected in a pool of oil spill.