Abandoned wells are a huge problem from both an environmental and safety perspective.
There are countless abandoned oil wells, gas wells and water wells just waiting for a kid to fall into and become the leading news story for a week.
As dangerous as these kind of wells are, abandoned man wells are even more of a threat. Dozens of these wells were drilled across the country in the eighties by USGS volcanologists. The wells allowed them to climb down, deep into the mantle to make observations and collect samples.
Excursions often lasted a week or more. The mantle is really deep. When the scientists emerged they always seemed unexpectedly refreshed and vigorous, even the old ones.
Samples indicated the presence of previously unknown mineral, eternimite. When tested on lab mice, they never died.
Eternimite also induces euphoria when inhaled. The mineral is not volatile at the surface but off gasses profusely down in the wells.
Naturally, numerous papers were published (you can find them on Google Scholar) and the well attracted scientists from all over the world. Many (especially the French scientists) would descend into the wells with their teams and then refuse to come out.
It wasn’t long before every well was occupied rendering them useless for further study. It also created a world shortage of volcanologists.
The USGS had no alternative except to terminate the program and cut off all funding. The wells were just abandoned. They couldn’t be sealed because people are still down there and were just left open to rust away.
Sometimes the well dwellers come to the surface to get a Slurpy but for the most part they stay down in the wells.
Information about the location of these wells should carefully guarded to prevent abuse. Hopefully, people don’t find the online map of the wells at USGS Earth Explorer at https://earthexplorer.usgs.gov/ (type “eternimite wells” in the search box).