Mark Hostetter, geologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, shows reporters a core drilling sample from beneath Wolf Creek Dam that contains oil (dark rings). Small amounts of oil have been discovered during rehabilitation work at the dam, but geologists say there are no significant amounts of oil in the area.


Black gold! Texas tea!
But unlike Jed Clampett in the television sitcom, Beverly Hillbillies, nobody is going to get rich from oil beneath Wolf Creek Dam. Anyway, that is a geologist’s reaction to small amounts of oil discovered during rehabilitation work at the dam that impounds Lake Cumberland.
“There’s not a significant amount of oil under the dam,” said Brook Brosi, geologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He was answering questions about a core drilling sample from the bowels of Wolf Creek Dam that looks and smells like oil.
Engineers point out that all areas involved in the $584 rehabilitation project at Wolf Creek Dam are core drilled “ ... so we’ll know what’s down there.” Reporters on a tour of the work site at the dam were shown a core drill sample on which were solid evidences of oil.
It’s not the first sign of oil. Relief wells beneath the concrete monolith have produced traces of oil, Brosi said. Of about 100 relief wells, some 20 percent have shown signs of oil, he said. Also, ACT, a grouting contractor, drilled a hole in 2007 or 2008 that produced maybe 12 gallons of oil, he noted.
Brosi said there are no producing oil wells in Russell County where Wolf Creek Dam is located, but some a active wells are in nearby Clinton County. Rehabilitation of Wolf Creek Dam will continue through 2013, but nobody is excited about finding a mother lode of oil, he indicated.

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