Project Mohole Collection:
An Inventory of Records at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library
In 1962 it was reported that the Mohole Project investigations of the earth’s crust were for research the composition and physical properties of the earth’s crust and mantle and was funded by the National Science Foundation for this purpose. By 1974 the Haliburton Company’s Quarterly Report states that the Brown & Root sea platform was functioning as an operating oil rig.
During Phase One, lead by scientist Walter Munk of the American Miscellaneous Society, five holes were drilled off the coast of Guadalupe, Mexico. The deepest of the holes was 183 miles below the sea floor through 3,500 miles of ocean water. Miocene age sediments were found from the resulting core sample.
In 1966 Project Mohole was abandoned following the decision to transfer operational control to to the National Science Foundation. In 1964 the American Miscellaneous Society terminated their involvement with Project Mohole and disbanded. The project continued until Congress, in 1966, retracted funding support before the second phase of Project Mohole was realized.
Brown & Root, Inc. was first established in 1914. Herman Brown conceived of the business when the contractor with whom he had been working, went out of business. Left without a job, Mr. Brown, however was bequethed mules and equipment from the contractor. This was enough to procure a contract with the Freestone County commissioners. As the business progressed, Mr. Brown married Margarett Root. He developed a partnership with his brother-in-law Dan Root, that lasted until Mr. Root’s death in 1929. Herman Brown’s younger brother then became vice-president of the company. For the next thirty years Brown & Root, Inc. headed new innovations in desiging and building gas, chemical and plastics plants as well as bridges, dams and ships.
They were the first company to create the off-shore drilling platform in the 1950s. In 1956 the platforms had achieved the same purpose in water depths of over 100 feet. By 1966 the platforms were used worldwide with more than 5000 miles of underwater lines.
In 1962 many changes took place in the company. The Brown brothers decided to turn over their company interest to the Brown Foundation. Later that year, following Herman Brown’s death, the Halliburton Company acquired 95% of the Brown & Root, Inc. stock.. That same year Brown & Root, Inc. was selected from 12 organizations by the National Science Foundation to plan, manage, develop equipment and obtain services and facilities for Project Mohole.
In 1966 after Phase One of the project was completed, Brown & Root, Inc. was slated to come on board. Before the work of the company could be realized, Congress prevented monies from being appropriated for continuation of Project Mohole.
Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Project Mohole Collection must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan Research Center or the appropriate copyright holder.
Project Mohole Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.
Donated by: John Cuniz, on June 22, 1998.
Processed by: Tammy Jordan and Charles Stephenson, October 16, 2006.