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Clearing the Air After a Big Gasser

March 26, 2003

Almanac Transcript

Clearing the air after a big "gasser" this week on the Oklahoma Audio Almanac.

Hello, Iím Steven Knoche Kite.

While eruptions of toxic gas and hot air aren't that unusual around the capital building in Oklahoma City, the events of March 26, 1930 made headlines around the world. The Oklahoma City oil field located in the northern section of what is now Oklahoma City was the last of the major Oklahoma mid-continent fields to come under production, doing so in the late 1920s. The Oklahoma City field is famous, not just for the amount of oil it produced, but also for the spectacular manner in which it made itself known to the country and the world. The well, drilled on the Sudik family farm in March of 1930, was not the first well in the Oklahoma City field, but it was by far the most spectacular. It was on March 26th of 1930 that crews drilling a new well struck a tremendous pocket of oil and gas. The force of the escaping gas shot more than 200 feet of drilling pipe hundreds of feet into the air, and the roar of the natural gas shooting out from 6,000 feet below the surface of the earth was heard for miles around.

Usually natural gas and oil are found together and such was the case with this well instantly named the Mary Sudik Number One, or more commonly, the Wild Mary Sudik. Oil soon joined the natural gas flow and a black gusher shooting 20,000 barrels of oil a day 400 feet into the air. The well ran out of control for ten days coating every surface for miles around with Oklahoma Crude. At times with the right combination of oil and wind students walking to class at The University of Oklahoma in Norman were sprinkled with oil from the Wild Mary Sudik. People within a several mile radius of the well were forbidden to light matches or produce any fire at all for fear of catching the stream on fire. Oil workers and engineers, now called in from around the country, worked in protective suits with goggles and earplugs to cap the roaring fountain of oil. Finally, after eleven days and numerous failed attempts, the well was capped and the flow of oil controlled. Thousands of acres of Oklahoma City lay saturated with oil as the cleanup began.

The Wild Mary Sudik causing a commotion this week on the Almanac.

I'm Steven Knoche Kite.

The Oklahoma Audio Almanac is a joint production of the Oklahoma State University Library and Oklahoma's Public Radio.

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