Fracking Fluid Can Migrate Into Marcellus Aquifers, New Study Says

A new study estimates that fluids used in the hydraulic fracturing of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region can migrate into underground drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously estimated.

The study, based on computer modeling and funded by opponents of fracking, concluded that natural faults and fractures in the Marcellus shale, exacerbated by the effects of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” could allow chemicals to reach shallow drinking water supplies in as little as “just a few years.”

Companies involved in fracking for natural gas have maintained that impermeable layers of rock in the Marcellus Shale formation would keep fracking fluids safely locked nearly a mile below water supplies. But independent hydrologist Tom Myers, who published his study in the journal Ground Water, says his modeling shows that is not the case. “Simply put, [the rock layers]are not impermeable,” said Myers.

The Marcellus Shale underlies large portions of the northeastern U.S., and thousands of fracking wells have been drilled in recent years. The study was funded by two organizations opposed to gas fracking, and some scientists strongly disagree with its conclusions.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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3 comments on “Fracking Fluid Can Migrate Into Marcellus Aquifers, New Study Says


They want to frac the karoo in south africa.could this have an effect on the underground water there?there are many farmers in the karoo most rely on this,also the water is bottled by several companies including coca cola,will fracing the karoo for shale gas not pose a great threat to this already water scarce region?

Like every geologist knows, but the rest of us still need to learn, “Whatever goes down, will come up!”

Eric Ryan

There is a ton of information about this whole water contamination issue. Check out some of the pretty extreme cases like:

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