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What is fracking?

By Jon Vegas

15 Mar 2019

What is fracking?

What is fracking?

What is fracking?

Fracking, and hydraulic fracturing, is a method to extract oil and gas from the earth. The process involves drilling down into the earth then water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at very high pressure. This then allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well. The term ‘fracking’ actually refers to how the rock is then fractured due to the high-pressure mixture.

In addition to this it involves pumping up to 17 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water, chemical additives and sand into the earth lying up to three kilometres underground. This develops into a series of small fractures in the rocks, releasing gas or oil that moves into the water stream and is pumped or carried to the surface.

Fracking has been directly linked to causing earthquakes. As a specialist from Newcastle University wrote for “Earthquakes can occur when fracking takes place near a geological fault. It’s a bit like how a hovercraft works, by pumping air to produce a cushion so it can slip more easily over the land surface. If frack fluid is pumped into a geological fault, it can also slip more easily. Fracking can also change the stress on the fault, causing it to release, and a big enough fault shift will be felt as an earthquake.”

 


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