The opening of the Illinois basin to oil production in 1937 was the beginning of a large-scale development that restored Illinois to the position of a major oil producing state after the lapse of a quarter-century. The delay in the opening of the Illinois basin was the result of several factors, the most important of which was perhaps the theory that oil had migrated outward from the central parts of large structural basins and that consequently the central parts were barren of oil and not worthy of prospecting.This paper discusses first the sequence of events leading up to the discovery of oil in the Illinois basin, with special emphasis on the influence of geologic theory, second the application in the area of the new techniques of exploration and development including geophysical methods, rotary drilling, and electric logging. The use of the reflection seismograph method proved highly successful.

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