Fracking, Hydro Fracking, Hydraulic Fracturing Content Entries

(Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is the practice of extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits by injecting high-pressure streams of water, sand, and chemicals)

combustible shale (noun), tasmanite, Mersey yellow coal, white coal, yellow coal
An impure coal which indicates a transitional level between cannel coal (an oily compact coal, with a greasy luster, which burns easily, steadily, and brightly) and oil shale.
flowback (adjective)
Concerning or referring to fracking fluids that are brought back to the surface from the drilled holes in the shale or layers of stone: "At some point, flowback fluids are no longer clean enough to be reused, and must be thrown away and the proper disposal of such flowback fluids is very important for the protection of both surface water and groundwater."

"Although disposal of flowback fluids in injection wells is currently the most effective means of safely isolating these fluids from the near-surface environment, the required specific geological conditions that are required for such wells do not exist in all areas."

"Depending on the geographical location, there may be other methods of handling flowback fluids; such as, treatment and discharge."

"Advances in flowback fluid treatment technology offer the promise of using flowback fluid for other purposes, rather than simply disposing of it; for example, use of filtration, reverse osmosis, decomposition in constructed wetlands, ion exchange, and other technologies may eventually result in the widespread practice of using flowback fluids for such things as managed irrigation and land application."

"One procedure in use today is the recycling of flowback fluids so they can be reused in other hydraulic fracturing jobs, which is one way to save water."

—Compiled from information located at
"What's the Fracking Problem?" by Peter L. Gray;
Environmental & Energy Management News, March 27, 2012.
flowback (s) (noun), flowbacks (pl)
Fracking fluids that are brought back to the surface: "These returning fracking fluids or flowbacks can carry many naturally occurring elements that pose hazards, including heavy metals; such as, barium, and radioactive cesium."

"Some operators put returned flowbacks (fracking fluids) in lagoons or pits which are nothing more than excavated holes in the ground and such flowbacks can leach out of the bottom of these pits and contaminate underlying groundwater."

"To prevent such contamination by flowbacks, operators are beginning to utilize closed loop systems, which store and transport flowbacks within a series of pipes and into above-ground tanks."

groundwater (s) (noun), groundwaters (pl)
Water under the earth's surface, usually between saturated soil and rock, that supplies wells and springs: "It can take as much as five million gallons of water to fully fracture shale and to release its trapped elements of gas. The same geology that makes eastern Ohio rich in gas, propane, butane, ethane and oil made the area poor in groundwater."
hydraulic fracking (s) (noun), hydraulic frackings (pl)
A process used in nine out of ten natural gas wells in the United States, where millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the slate rock and release gas: "The explosive growth of hydraulic fracking; especially, in areas where gas is often located closer to people’s homes and population centers has exposed some of the environmental risks associated with shale gas."

"Scientists and environmentalists are worried that the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing may pose a threat either underground or when waste fluids are handled and sometimes spilled on the surface of the ground."

"Hydraulic frackings involve the injection of more than a million gallons of water, sand, and chemicals at high pressure down and across into the horizontally drilled wells as far as 10,000 feet below the surface of the earth."

"The pressurized mixtures used in hydraulic frackings cause the rock layer of shale to crack and these fissures are held open by the sand particles so the natural gas from the shale can flow up the well to the surface and into storage tanks from where it is taken for distribution and sold to users."

kerogen (s) (noun), kerogens (pl)
A complex fossilized organic material that exists in sedimentary rock and which is insoluble in organic solvents: "Kerogen yields petroleum products; such as, oil and natural gas, when it is distilled."
natural gas (s); NG (noun)
A mixture of hydrocarbon gases that occurs naturally in the earth's crust with petroleum deposits, primarily consisting of methane together with varying quantities of ethane, propane, butane, and other gases, and is used as a fuel and in the manufacture of organic compounds: "

"The United States is the Saudi Arabia of natural gas."

"According to the Energy Information Administration, the United States has more than 2,552 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas; which is enough to fuel the United States for 110 years.

"Unconventional sources, such as shale gas found in the Marcellus Shale Formation beneath Pennsylvania and parts of New York and the Barnett Formation under Texas account for 60% of U.S. reserves."

"The extraction technique, known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, is done by

  • First, drill a mile down into the earth, then take a right turn and drill laterally into a shale rock formation.
  • Next, fracture the shale rock by blasting it with millions of gallons of water, sand and a small amount of chemicals.
  • Finally, withdraw that water/sand/chemical mixture, along with natural gas released from the interstices (small openings) of the fractured rock.

"Fracking fluids consist of water, sand, and a small amount of chemicals."

"Water and sand can make up more than 99.5 percent of the fluid."

"Water acts as the primary carrier fluid in hydraulic fracturing, and sand props open the fractures so that gas may escape."

—Compiled from information located in
"What’s the Fracking Problem?" by Peter L. Gray;
Environmental & Energy Management News; March 27, 2012.
oil shale, oil-shale; shale oil (noun)
A high content of organic matter consisting of clay minerals and silt-sized quartz grains from which oil may be extracted by distillation: "The spaces between the grains of oil shales are microscopic, making the rock highly impermeable and trapped within these spaces is a solid, combustible hydrocarbon, substance called kerogen which is a fossilized material in shale and other sedimentary rocks."

"When heated, the kerogen in oil shales breaks down and produces oil."

sedimentary rocks (pl) (noun)
Rocks that are formed by the accumulation of sediments at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water: "Common sedimentary rocks include sandstone, limestone, and shale."
shale (s) (noun), shales (pl)
A fine-grained or fine-textured sedimentary rock formed by the cementation or compaction of silt and clay (mud): "Shale has thin layers (laminations) and can be split into thin layers or small chips."

"Shale and mudstone are composed of a mixture of the finest particles of clay and silt; however, the difference between them is that shale splits into thin layers while mudstone is thickly layered and breaks into massive chunks."

shale gas (s) (noun)
Natural gas formed from being trapped in shale formations: "Shale gas has become an important source of natural gas in the United States over the past decade, and interest has spread to potential gas shales in the rest of the world."

"Shales are fine-grained sedimentary rocks that can be rich sources of petroleum and natural gas. The combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has allowed access to large volumes of shale gas that were previously uneconomical to produce."

"The supply of natural gas is not as dependent on foreign producers as is the supply of crude oil, and the delivery system is less subject to interruption."

"The availability of large quantities of shale gas should enable the United States to consume a predominantly domestic supply of gas for many years and produce more natural gas then it consumes."

—Compiled from information provided by the
U.S. Energy Information Administration.

"Current technology allows shale gas to be recovered from shale formations with a high organic content."

"Modern exploration and gas production technology, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, has enabled the extraction of shale gas in similar formations in other states."

"Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking or fracking, is a process used to stimulate production of natural gas from shale or other impermeable rock formations."

"The process involves drilling a well into rock that contains natural gas; injecting fluids under pressure to fracture the rock; and extracting the natural gas from the fractures that are created."

"While development of this resource could be an economic benefit to North Carolina, other states have found that shale gas production also has impacts that need to be carefully managed."

"The possible environmental impacts of shale gas exploration include the use of high volumes of water during drilling; potential contamination of groundwater aquifers by chemicals, water or wastewater during drilling or hydraulic fracturing of the shale layers; clearing of access roads and the drilling area; and storage of chemicals used in the process."

—Compiled from information provided by the
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.