There's a rush for riches in northern Alaska, where some five to ten billion barrels of oil--and perhaps much more--lies locked beneath the frozen tundra.
There's a rush for riches in northern Alaska, where some five to ten billion barrels of oil--and perhaps much more--lies locked beneath the frozen tundra. Behind this great bonanza--which could make our 49th state the richest of all--and recorded in this film--is a saga of man's struggle against the elements.
Whiteout! Blinding snow that reduces visibility to a few feet. Fifty-to-seventy-below-zero cold and hurricane-force winds that stop men and machines in their tracks. During the brief summer thaw, ground becomes slushy, undermining roads and structures. There are obstacles men are overcoming in their year-round quest for black gold.
Moving in the dead of winter supply caravans, drawn by heavy earthmoving equipment like the TEREX crawler tractor in this first overland train, cross 530 miles of barren, unpaved tundra snow much of the way.
On reaching the oil-rich North Slope twelve days later, men and machines join construction crews already at work. Gravel is dug up and stockpiled for use in constructing foundations, roads and airfields, which must be built up to depth of five feet to protect against the summer thaw.
But the task is just beginning. New supply trains head north in endless succession.
Engines run 24 hours a day to keep from freezing. Fresh batteries are kept warm and ready.
Snow is a contrast enemy. As fast as it is cleared away, more piles up, for there's nothing to break the drifting fury of the wind.
In spite of all these hardships, the work goes on, and nature continues to test the mettle of man and machines in this quest for oil.