There was a big gas well blow-out in Canton, OK way back in about ’65. One summer evening some friends & I decided to drive out there to see it. Got there about 2 AM so no one else, not even a guard, was around there. We approached from the down wind side away from the big heat. The sound was awesome; we heard it from miles away.
There was a massive column of fire shooting into the sky under tremendous pressure. Think an old fashioned blow-torch magnified a million times. Every machine & tin shack around was blasted. The huge rig had been melted into a big pile of twisted charred worms.
The energy of the thing just seemed to overwhelm you as it blazed and roared in front of you. About 100 yards was as close as we could approach even with the flame bent in the other direction by the western Oklahoma wind. The heat was unbelievable…everyone had singed hair & eyebrows. Our skin felt like it was sizzling. We could stand it only a few minutes before we had to creep back to safety.
Maybe the most alarming thing of all was the ground under our feet. The very earth trembled, vibrated and pulsed. It was as if the earth had come to life; the wild vitality of the discharging well overmastered everything. A frightening idea crawled up my spine that the entire area would soon erupt sending everything heavenward in a ghastly nightmare of chaos.
Afterwards I reflected that compared to a volcano this well was but a pin-prick on the surface of the earth. It gave me a new feeling: We walk everyday upon a very thin crust gently floating on a sea of unknown and scarcely contained sheer energy.