GSA home

Log In | GSA Community | GSA Store | Join GSA | Donate | Contact Us

GSA home

| GSA Community | GSA Store | Donate | Contact Us

GSA Critical Issue: Hydraulic Fracturing

Table of Contents

Introduction

Hydraulic Fracturing Defined

Hydraulic Fracturing’s History
and Role in Energy Development

Potential Environmental Issues
Associated with Hydraulic Fracturing

Water Quality

Water Use

Triggered or Induced Seismicity

Regulation Issues

Staying Informed

References

Glossary

Download
Print PDF
The hydraulic fracturing critical issue will be periodically updated.

Comment Form

Comments requested here:

  1. Notify if there is a broken link;
  2. Recommend annotated references on hydraulic fracturing, with a link to the refereed journal. Article annotation limited to 75 words.
  3. Suggestions on related aspects of hydraulic fracturing to address in future revisions.
This comment section is not a discussion forum. GSA members are encouraged to start a thread on GSA's Open Forum, if desired.

Introduction

(continued)

Estimated withdrawals of shale gas Figure 2:

Estimated withdrawals of shale gas as of January 2013. Energy Information Administration, Dec. 2012.

Click on images to enlarge.

U.S. dry natural gas production Figure 3:

U.S. dry natural gas production, trillion cubic feet. Energy Information Administration Dec. 2012.

Shale gas locations in the U.S. Figure 4:

Shale gas locations in the United States. Energy Information Administration, 5 Dec. 2012.

In many cases it is unclear whether concerns raised relate specifically to hydraulic fracturing, or more generally to the development of unconventional petroleum resources, or to other aspects related to all oil and gas development. While many of these concerns relate to policy, economics, and social areas that are outside the scope of this paper, the geoscience community is well suited to address some of the technical questions being asked.

The Geological Society of America does not have a position statement on hydraulic fracturing. This critical issue paper is written as a primer for the general public, journalists, and even resource professionals who may have difficulty finding objective, credible information about hydraulic fracturing of shales and other unconventional sources and related environmental concerns. This primer is also intended to furnish members of The Geological Society of America with a concise, clear, non-technical discussion of the process and the issue, as a reference they can provide to non-geologists to inform conversations on the topic.

< BACK | top | NEXT >