Thousands of gallons of crude oil gurgle underground at this spot off a gravel road 12 miles northwest of Bemidji, Minn. It isn’t a new shale oil discovery.
The crude oil is the stubborn remnant of a massive 1979 pipeline rupture. Over the past three decades, this site has become a science center unlike any other in the world. Using data collected mostly from bore holes, scientists have produced a gusher of research discoveries, including some that have influenced U.S. pollution cleanup policy.