The Drill Hole at Wichita
From: History of Wichita and Sedgwick County, Kansas
Past and Present
O. H. Bentley, Editor-in-Chief
C. F. Cooper & Co. Publisher.
Chicago 1910


THE DRILL HOLE AT WICHITA.
By
J. R. MEAD
(Read before the Academy, Wichita, Kan., January 3, 1896.)

In the year 1895, the city of Wichita voted $10,000 in bonds to drill one or more holes to ascertain what of value might be found beneath the city. Coal, salt, oil and gas were among the possibilities.

A sample of each five feet in depth has been preserved in glass jars, properly numbered. The hole is within the city limits, in the valley of the Arkansas, one fourth of a mile from the river, and within fifty feet of the track of the Missouri Pacific Railroad. Work commenced October 20, 1895.

The first twelve feet was through surface soil and clay. Strata of quicksand and gravel filled with water were then reached. This constituted the underflow, or "subterranean river," as it was called in the newspapers. Great difficulty was experienced in securing a curbing through this sand and water, which caused a delay of several weeks. First, a round wooden pipe, sixteen inches in diameter, strongly made of two-inch pine, and wrapped with sheet iron, was placed in the hole and gradually sunk by pumping the sand from the inside. As depth was gained, the pipe constantly bent to the southeast, indicating a pressure in that direction. Trains passing imparted a quivering motion to the sand and water. The wooden pipe was abandoned, as it could not be kept vertical. A heavy wrought-iron tube fourteen inches in diameter was substituted, which proved a success.

Following is the log of the well, which at this writing has reached the first hard rock, black flint or chert, at a depth of 642 feet!

.

Depth
Feet

Thickness
Feet

LOG OF THE WELL.

12

12

Surface soil and clay.

27

15

Quicksand and water.

42

15

Coarse sand and gravel, full of water.

80

38

Tenacious blue clay.

90

10

Gypsum crystals (selethte). Between 80 and 90 feet a pocket of smooth water-worn pebbles, consisting of white quartz, quartzite, granite, jasper, etc., broke into the well from the side.

165

75

Alternating layers of clay, gypsum and clay shales.

250

85

Massive gypsum, gray and black.

265

15

Blue shale.

270

5

Gypsum.

275

5

Light and dark shale.

285

10

Soft clay shale.

295

10

Clay and gypsum.

300

5

Gypsum.

325

25

Blue shale.

350

25

Black shale.

375

25

Blue shale.

385

10

Dark shale.

390

5

Blue shale.

400

10

Black shale.

440

40

Blue shale.

455

15

White and gray gypsum

480

25

Shale, strongly charged with petroleum.

490

10

Dark shale.

550

60

Light gray shale.

560

10

Gray limestone.

563

3

Fine sand full of very strong brine, which rose 300 feet in the drill hole, and would perhaps have risen to the surface had it not been stopped by the insertion of tubing.

572

9

Gray limestone and clay.

575

3

Clay shale.

585

10

Black shale.

590

5

Blue clay.

600

10

Soapstone and clay or shale.

610

10

Light gray limestone.

615

5

Dark soapstone.

630

15

Dark shale.

637

7

Gray limestone.

642

5

Black flint (cher).


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