Prospects for Oil

Some geological exposition and a bit of business speculation from the March 22, 1904 Skidmore Standard (Skidmore, Missouri), page 1:

Prospects for Oil.

Once the Bed of a Lake, May Now be an Oil Field.  What Men of Experience Think of it.

We know that there are depressions or submergings and upheavals of the earth’s surface continually going on at the present time, and we know not how soon some great cataclysm may occur that will destroy whole continents as they exist today. The Mt. Pelee disaster, where the lava is hardly yet cooled off, was the most destructive of life, of any recorded disturbance of that kind.

But when the world was younger and the cooling crust was much thinner than now, seismic disturbances occurred much more frequent.  Whole continents, though not so large as now, were submerged and upheaved, changing the face of the world at times.  Perhaps almost instantly.  Where today were the high mountains, tomorrow perhaps, would be whitecaps of old ocean rushing and roaring as though gloating over the great destruction of life — or where rolled the deep sea waves, now the valleys, plains and mountains.

That process has been going on, or repeated again and again until, there is perhaps no part of the earth’s surface but what has been depressed or raised a great many times, as each stratum of rock, shale, clay or coal, being formed under water necessitated a submergence for each formation.

The bottom of the sea, then as now had great depths or depressions in places, and when it was elevated above the sea level, the depressions if left intact, formed lakes, sometimes of large dimensions like the great lakes on our northern border or even larger.

So, away, back yonder, the other side of when our monkeys were grand daddies — when the wiggletypolikies and the polikywiggleties — those may not be their real names, but it is easier to call them that than by some store tooth breaking name in a deceased language, flourished to and fro on the earth, or in the water thereof, in countless myriads or more — gee whiz! something is lost — oh yes, it was along about this time while the earth was flip floppin’ around that a lake of considerable size was left in this vicinity and it extended some distance up into the state of Iowa.  The outlet of this lake was along the Nodaway river valley, as the erosion or wearing away of the rock formations along the river bluffs plainly indicate.

At times when these great and sudden changes took place, there would be large numbers of animals destroyed and by some chemical action of heat, compression or other forces caused by the earth’s changing surface, they were sometimes changed into conditions productive of gas and oil.  Thus we have gas and oil fields.  Then why may not gas and oil be found in this ancient goose pond?

We have tried to state facts of geology in unscientific language and if we have failed it is our fault and not a geological fault.

Mr. Leo Vincent, whom we mentioned when he was here not long since, helped to develop the Boulder, Colorado, oil field and he thinks the surface indications here are much better than they were at Boulder before oil was discovered there.

Mr. T. B. Slaughter, whom most of our readers know, as he has lived here most of his life, has been all over the oil and gas regions of Kansas in the last few years and the past year he has spent most of his time there.  He is interested in the oil fields there and has studied the geology of that region quite thoroughly.  He has also made a study of the geological formation of this locality for years, and he says the indications here are far better than anything he has seen in Kansas.