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Title: Oil prospects in Washington County, Utah
Authors: Bassler, Harvey
Reeside, John B.
Issue Date: 1922
Publisher: United States Department of the Interior, United States Geological Survey, United States Government Printing Office
Citation: Contributions to economic geology, part 2--mineral fuels: Bulletin; no. 726, pp. 87-107 (1922)
Type: book
Pages: 22
Abstract: Washington County is the extreme southwestern county of Utah. It is reached most easily by autostage from stations on the Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad. Most of the traffic of the county passes through Lund by way of Cedar City, a distance of 90 miles from St. George, the county seat; part of it passes through Modena by way of Enterprise, a distance of 60 miles but at present a more difficult route. An automobile route, the Arrowhead Trail, connecting Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, crosses the central part of the county. From this route spur highways reach the main towns and Zion Canyon National Park, in the eastern part of the county. Except on these main roads automobile traffic is somewhat hazardous┬┐ indeed, for the greater part impracticable. (See fig. 9.) The region is drained by Virgin River, one of the larger tributaries of the Colorado, and might be considered the northern extension of the Grand Canyon district. Erosion has produced a topography of marked relief, and over much of the area rock exposures, which are common in the steep slopes and canyon walls and along the ridges, make it relatively easy to observe stratigraphic and structural details. The climate is arid, and farming, except on the upland plateaus, is practicable only where streams supply water for irrigation. Such streams are absent south of Virgin River and are not numerous north of it, there being only five of six of any importance. The climate makes it possible in these favored localities to produce many varieties of fruit and other products, some of them semitropical, upon which the population of the region now depends largely for its support. Sheep and cattle raising is an important industry, the high plateaus and mountain pastures being occupied for this purpose in the summer and the lowlands in the winter. St. George is the chief town and county seat. It has a population of 2,215 (1920), with the usual complement of stores, banks, and other enterprises necessary for the trading center of an agricultural region. Other towns are scattered along Virgin River and its principal tribu- taries. Leeds, 15 miles east of St. George, was formerly the center of a prosperous silver-mining district, but the industry has been idle since the late nineties. Exploratory drilling for oil has not been extensive in Washington County. Drilling near Virgin City resulted in several small wells as early as 1907. About 15 test wells were then sunk, most of them grouped near Virgin City but some a considerable distance away. No further exploration was made for 10 years, when some of the old wells near Virgin City were cleaned out and several new wells were drilled. In 1919 a well was started on the Harrisburg dome and has reached a depth of 2,200 feet (September, 1920). The writers spent part of the autumn of 1919 examining the region in reconnaissance. Some detailed work wxas done near Virgin City and on the three domes of the Virgin anticline, but much of the work was rapid, without a satisfactory base map, and accordingly lacks detail. Much assistance was given by several residents, for which the writers take this opportunity of expressing their thanks.
URI: http://ds.heavyoil.utah.edu/dspace/handle/123456789/5483
Appears in Collections:ICSE Digital Library

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