Oil gusher at Potrero, Mexico, 1911.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
A gusher is an oil well from which the oil flows out under presure without needing to be pumped. The amount of oil ejected can be prodigious; the Lakeview No 1 gusher in California flowed continuously for 18 months beginning on 15th March 1910, producing an estimated 8.2 million barrels of crude oil. Mexico has very extensive oil reserves. Initially these resources were exploited by British and American oil companies, but in 1938 the Government of Lazaro Cardenas nationalised the Mexican oil industry.