Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Rocky Mountain Arsenal

This is coolbert:

Visit this web site and read the interesting history of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal:

"Rocky Mountain Arsenal History"

An arsenal for the U.S. military, first constructed in 1942 as part of a crash program to manufacture chemical munitions and incendiary weaponry for the war effort.

"Many factors led to choosing the Arsenal's location." To include:

* "a place far removed from any coastline"
* "an area with established transportation routes"
* "a safe distance from the metropolitan area"

Located on the high plains east of Denver, on what was, at the time, strictly farming and ranching country. Safety was a major concern in the selection process, to be sure. Location close enough to Denver meant that a large enough willing and able work force could also be mustered.

"19,883 acres of prairie and farmland east of Denver had been selected to be the future site of Rocky Mountain Arsenal, a chemical weapons manufacturing center."

An arsenal that did yeoman work during both the era of World War Two [WW2] and the Cold War. Both as a manufacturing enterprise and a repository. A facility now in the transition stage to becoming a nature preserve!

"yeo·man - –noun - - 6. performed or rendered in a loyal, valiant, useful, or workmanlike manner, esp. in situations that involve a great deal of effort or labor"

During WW2, facilitated the manufacture of:

* Poison gases - - Mustard - - lewisite - - chlorine.

* Incendiary weapons - - napalm.

During the era of the Cold War:

* Poison gas of the nerve variety - - GB.

* Rocket fuels.

Those stockpiles of chemical munitions are now all gone. Thank GOD too! Stuff is dangerous even when stored. More hazardous just moving then destroying in situ. The land the arsenal was built on is now surrounded by sub-division and urban sprawl from the Denver area? Very difficult to destroy all those munitions and do so in a safe manner!

"in si·tu - - adj. - - In the original position. - - Confined to the site of origin."

That does even count the waste product from the manufacture of chemical weaponry AND rocket fuel. Stuff of itself is toxic and deadly, and must ALSO be dealt with.

[when all those GB gas bombs were first manufactured, absolutely no provisions were made for eventual destruction! The planners and designers had always assumed that the gas bombs would be used in some capacity and no need for disarming was ever contemplated!!]

I can recall that there was an effort in the early 1970's to pump liquid wastes located at the arsenal into a well 12,000 feet [4,600 meters] deep created an enormous amount of controversy. Was reputed to have caused earthquakes [induced earthquakes, man-made] in the Denver area. An inactive fault zone was said to have been made active by disruption from so much liquid wastes pumped deep into the upper crust of the earth. Where earthquakes were non-existent, NOW were common.

Rocky Mountain at some point will seem to have been revived and turned back to nature? A noble experiment that we all hope succeeds. ONLY many years will tell. I would guess that as many years would be needed to restore the prairie nature of the land as the facility was in operation. Sixty years or so!

Just don't drink the water!




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