Iowa city blames meteor that hit 74 million years ago for current difficulty drilling well

  • Article by: Associated Press
  • Updated: May 16, 2014 - 6:45 PM

MANSON, Iowa — A small central Iowa city is having a big problem drilling a new well, and the reason could date back millions of years.

Manson has failed three times to drill for a new steady water supply. The difficulty apparently is due to a meteor that struck an estimated 74 million years ago, creating what is known as the Manson impact crater. Geologists believe the meteor caused a catastrophic explosion that burned up everything within 130 miles, although there now is no evidence of the impact.

Underground, however, remnants of the meteor remain, and they are causing headaches for drill engineers, according to the Fort Dodge Messenger (http://bit.ly/1jlZUyB ).

To improve the chances of success in the city's fourth drilling attempt, the city hired Aquetech Innovation, a company in nearby Fort Dodge that uses satellite imagery to determine well sites.

"When the meteor hit, it blew out all the natural formations," said Lanny Rosenquist, a geologist and owner of Aquetech. "It destroyed all the natural geology. Over in Fort Dodge you get certain layers; over here you don't hit those layers. Everything's mixed up."

Rosenquist said satellite imagery shows markers that can indicate aquifers.

After an analysis, the company started drilling near an auto parts store. If that spot doesn't work, there are two other options on opposite ends of town.

Mayor Dave George said it should be clear by Wednesday if current drilling has succeeded.

Although the meteor created an inconvenience for the city of 1,700 people some 80 miles northwest of Des Moines, George contends it somehow improved the water's taste by removing minerals that make nearby well water harder.

"Manson has naturally soft water," George said. "It's a little harder to get to, but it's worth it."

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