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December 13, 2005

Mysterious Kingfisher-area gas geysers leave officials puzzled

By Cass Rains

Staff Writer



KINGFISHER -- Mysterious unrefined natural gas leaks erupting in rural Kingfisher County in recent days continue to have officials puzzled as to their cause.

"We originally thought a pipeline had exploded," said Matt Skinner, Oklahoma Corporation Commission public information manager. "We had the pressure to zero pressure, and the leaks seemed to get bigger. So that's not it."

Skinner had said at a press conference Monday geologists and hydrologists are beginning to study underground maps of the area to find an explanation.

"We've ruled out the probables, and now we're into the unprobables," he said. "We've never seen one like this before, one that covers such a large area. It's another animal."

Skinner said the leak was unusual because of its size and that it was "moving with no explanation."

Officials said the U.S. Geologic Survey reported no seismic activity had been reported in the area.

"They said the area had been dead for some time," Skinner said.

Skinner said the leaks and geysers were occurring closest to Winter Camp Creek, formerly Dead Indian Creek. Sunday evening, one eruption was reported in Kingfisher Creek, "up to within a mile" west of the city of Kingfisher, Skinner said, but that leak had ceased. Winter Camp Creek flows into Kingfisher Creek, which could explain why an eruption would occur near the city, he said.

Kingfisher Fire Chief Jack Crawford said the leaks, which cover a stretch of 12 to 13 miles between Kingfisher and Okarche "had not progressed toward Kingfisher" since Sunday afternoon.

"The bulk of the action is in the creek -- in terms of the visual," Skinner said. "It's one long continuous leak."

Skinner said the leaks have been in areas close to the creek between the cities.

"They seem to be staying near the creek," he said. "It runs over the length."

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