Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a procedure used by oil and gas companies to extract hard-to-reach deposits deep beneath the earth’s surface. It involves injecting large quantities of water mixed with sand and a host of toxic chemicals (lubricants, gels, abrasives, etc.) under enormous pressure. This process opens small cracks in the shale, allowing tiny pockets of gas and oil trapped there to escape.
Trends Journal published an extensive report on fracking by Science Editor Ben Daviss in our Winter 2013 issue, outlining its pros and cons. It’s worth mentioning here that fracking is another drain on the world’s water supply. An average well uses between 3 and 8 million gallons of water over its lifetime, and the number of wells is expanding rapidly.
While it is dramatically increasing our ability to produce more fossil fuels, fracking can pollute groundwater supplies and create a large amount of polluted waste fluids. Read our report: “Hydrofracturing: The Devil is in the Details” at www.trendsjournal.com/predictions/energy2013-fracking.pdf.