Carl Henning

Helium Monument

A monument to helium? Really? Absolutely! One of several exciting finds in Amarillo, Texas.

From the plaque:

Erected 1968, commemorating the 100th anniversary of discovery of helium in the gaseous atmosphere surrounding the sun. (The discovery of traces of Helium on earth was first announced in 1895.)

Helium is an element which occurs in commercial volume in natural gas produced since 1918 from wells in the Texas panhandle. In 1929 the first of several helium processing plants began operations near Amarillo. Large quantities of helium extracted from natural gas are stored underground northwest of Amarillo and will provide a valuable source of supply for many years.

Once used only in lighter-than-air craft, helium now serves vital needs in the nation’s military and space programs.

The monument also stores time capsules in a helium atmosphere and acts as a sundial.

And if you think of Helium as a large city on Barsoom, you read the same science fiction I do.

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