Houston Public Library, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Project Mohole Collection MSS.1319

Descriptive Summary

Creator Project Mohole
Creator Root & Brown, Incorporated
Title: Project Mohole Collection
Dates: Bulk, 1962-1967
Dates: 1962-1974, 1962-1967
Identification: MSS.1319
Quantity: 3.0 Linear feet, 5 document boxes
Language: Materials are in English
Repository: Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

Historical Note

In 1962, it was reported that the Mohole Project investigations of the earth’s crust were for researching the composition and physical properties of the earth’s crust and mantle, and were 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.

Biographical Note

Brown & Root, Inc. was first established in 1914. Herman Brown conceived the business when the contractor with whom he had been working went out of business. Left without a job, Mr. Brown was however 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 designing 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 5,000 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.



Series 1: Photographs
Series 2: Correspondence
Series 3: Articles
Series 4: Directories
Series 5: Bibliographies
Series 6: Rosters
Series 7: Chronology
Series 8: Reports


Access Restrictions


Use Restrictions

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.

Index Terms

American Miscellaneous Society.
Brown & Root, Incorporated.
National Science Foundation (U.S.)
Historical geology.
Mohole project.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Project Mohole Collection. Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library.

Acquisition Information

Donated by: John Cuniz, on June 22, 1998.

Processing Information

Processed by: Tammy Jordan and Charles Stephenson, October 16, 2006.

Detailed Description of the Collection



Box Folder
1 1 Crane
1 Model of floating platform and crane



Box Folder
1 2 Letters 1962 to1967



Box Folder
1 3 Magazine and newspaper clippings 1962 to 1974



Box Folder
1 4 Brown & Root Directory July 29, 1966
Brown & Root Project Mohole Office Directory June 7, 1967
Brown & Root Interoffice Directory August 1, 1967



Box Folder
1 5 Project Mohole Bibliography, Generated during Phase II June 1967



Box Folder
1 6 Brown & Root, Inc. Project Mohole Organization Roster November 23, 1964



Box Folder
1 7 Project Mohole timeline



Box Folder
1 8 Geological Reports 1965
9 Drilling time curves 1967
10 Project History, first draft July 3, 1967
Box Folder
2 1 Project Estimates August 8, 1965
2 Benthic Exploration
3 Project Mohole, Phase II History. Brown & Root, Inc.
4 Project Mohole. National Science Foundation May 1966
5 Project Mohole. Brown & Root, Inc. August 8, 1967