Hydrofracking may be causing mass die-offs...and earthquakes
these articles outline how a process used to extract natural gas from rock beds (hydrofracking) could be behind mass die-offs. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) pumps water and chemicals into the ground at a pressurized rate exceeding what the bedrock can withstand, resulting in a microquake that produces rock fractures.
Hydraulic Fracturing Process Dangerous for the Environment
1/6/2010 9:42:04 AM
By Emily Kennedy
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracturing or hydrofracking, is a process used to increase the water flow from a bedrock well. This process occurs when the size of the fractures in bedrock is increased so that more water can enter into the well. Some drilling companies argue that hydrofracking costs less than, and is a better alternative to, drilling deeper. However, according to the January 4, 2010 newsletter issue for the Center for Health, Environment & Justice titled "Growing Opposition to High Risk Hydrofracking Technology"; many scientists are opposed to the process because of the high levels of radium it releases into the environment. The newsletter also states that "water brought thousands of feet to the surface from drilling had levels of radioactive radium - 226 as high as 267 times the limit safe for discharge into the environment."
An article dating back to July 2008 from the timesunion.com called Hydrofracking: Toxic gas-drilling technique explains that hydrofracking is also a dangerous process when used on the Marcellus Shale, a layer of rock that geologists predict will provide natural gas to the United States for more than 2 years."The gas in the Marcellus is held like bubbles in a brick of Swiss cheese. To extract it, a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is shot into the earth with such force it fractures the rock, releasing the bubbles to the surface. When the gas surfaces, so does the water — laden with natural toxins from the shale, including suspected cancer-causing compounds.
see the original article, from mother earth news
Incidents where hydraulic fracturing is a suspected cause of drinking water contamination
NRDC supports federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act. We believe this is a sensible approach that would ensure a minimum federal floor of drinking water protection in the more than 30 states where oil and gas production occurs.
Opponents of such regulation claim that hydraulic fracturing has never caused any drinking water contamination. They say this because incidents of drinking water contamination where hydraulic fracturing is considered as a suspected cause have not been sufficiently investigated, either because scientists and regulators could not properly investigate (did not have the information or technology needed) or because they chose not to, even where signs point to hydraulic fracturing. Some cases where groundwater was contaminated during hydraulic fracturing operations have been attributed to other causes, such as faulty well structure, even if a well failed during the hydraulic fracturing process.
Below is a list of incidents where drinking water has been contaminated and hydraulic fracturing is a suspected cause. I can't emphasize enough that there are more cases of drinking water contamination around the country related to oil and gas production; those listed below are cases where a homeowner had enough detailed knowledge to know that a nearby well was recently fractured and specifically included that information in reports. In many cases of drinking water contamination where hydraulic fracturing has not been mentioned as the cause, it may be because the homeowner does not know if the nearby gas well was recently fractured. It does not mean that hydraulic fracturing is completely absolved. As you will see, these cases are not limited to just one company or one state. The stories from around the country are unfortunately familiar.
see the EXTENSIVE list, from the natural resources defense council
Hydraulic Fracturing causes earthquakes
Induced seismicity, or earthquakes caused by human activities, can be caused by development of hydrocarbon, mineral, and geothermal resources, waste injection, water filling large surface reservoirs, underground nuclear explosions and large-scale construction projects.
Scientists have documented direct connections between earthquakes and both oil and gas extraction and waste-water injection.
Moreover, several studies demonstrate that hydraulic fracturing induces microearthquakes and that the analysis of these microearthquakes can be useful in understanding fracture zones and reservoir production rates.
Recently, earthquakes have occurred more frequently in areas experiencing increased hydraulic fracturing.
from earthworks website
Fracking the life out of Arkansas and beyond
by Rady Ananda
The last four months of 2010, nearly 500 earthquakes rattled Guy, Arkansas.  The entire state experienced 38 quakes in 2009.  The spike in quake frequency precedes and coincides with the 100,000 dead fish on a 20-mile stretch of the Arkansas River that included Roseville Township on December 30. The next night, 5,000 red-winged blackbirds and starlings dropped dead out of the sky in Beebe.  Hydraulic fracturing is the most likely culprit for all three events, as it causes earthquakes with a resultant release of toxins into the environment. 
A close look at Arkansas' history of earthquakes and drilling reveals a shocking surge in quake frequency following advanced drilling. The number of quakes in 2010 nearly equals all of Arkansas' quakes for the entire 20th century. The oil and gas industry denies any correlation, but the advent of hydrofracking followed by earthquakes is a story repeated across the nation. It isn't going to stop any time soon, either. Fracking has gone global.
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