Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fracking 101 Continued Plus New Entries in Photo Contest



This image has nothing to do with fracking, but is
an entry in the photo contest.  They are baby
cardinals in Wisconsin.
In my quest to better understand the issues around fracking (see this post for explanation), I ran into this pretty amazing interactive website that explains the process of fracking and the environmental issues associated with the process in a particular geologic setting in Pennsylvania..

This image also has nothing to do with fracking.  It is
a lovely bluff overlooking Lake Michigan in
Wisconsin.
Basically, in the case of the Marcellus Shale in the example, deep wells are drilled to reach the gas reservoir.  The shale is thousands of feet deeper than residential or municipal wells.  As the well is drilled, a steel casing is cemented in place to prevent leaking of well fluid or extracted gases into the surrounding bedrock. When the shale is reached, the well is drilled horizontally to access up to 10,000 feet of gas-bearing rock.

The shale is then shot with a perferating gun that blows holes into the shale.  Pressurized fracking fluid, mainly consisting of water, is then pushed into the shale from the holes created by the perferating gun.  The fracking fluid can contain a large number of other chemicals seen on this list.  Some of them are hazardous to human health.  The fractured rock provides a route for the gases trapped in the shale to travel to the surface through the well.

This picture is the last of three sent in by my sister Sharon.
I love them all, but I have to go with the baby
cardinals for the entry.
Next up, environmental concerns about fracking. Here is your reading assignment for this week.  It is a summary of the fracking process writing by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and focuses on the timing and nature of the fracking fluid insertion process.

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In other news, the photos in the photo contest keep coming in.  The ones scattered throughout the post are from my sister Sharon.  If you send in multiple photos, I'll pick a handful of photos to list, but I'll pick one for inclusion in the contest.  In this case, I am picking the photo of the baby cardinals to compete.  Keep the photos coming!  Send them to me at robertbrinkmann@rocketmail.com

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