198 oil and gas wells found abandoned near Carlsbad Caverns

Almost 200 oil and gas wells sit abandoned within a 30-mile radius of Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

The caverns, which contain a complex system of underground caves, filter local groundwater sources and could be susceptible to contamination from industrial sources like orphaned wells.

A study conducted by the National Parks Conservation Association ranked Carlsbad Caverns as the national park or monument with the second-most nearby abandoned wells in New Mexico.

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Azetc Ruins National Monument in northwest New Mexico was ranked second with 260 abandoned wells within 30 miles of its boundary, and Chaco Culture Historical Park in the same region was third with 44 wells.

Manhattan Project National Historical Park near Los Alamos was fourth with seven nearby orphaned wells and Valles Caldera National Preserve just north of Albuquerque was fifth with two wells, per the study.