Fracking Up Our Planet?

by Scally p on November 25, 2016 - 9:28pm

Fracking Up Our Planet?

                The article I chose focuses on hydraulic fracturing in Alberta. New research out of Fox Creek, Alberta has confirmed that an earthquake felt by the community back in January 2015 was caused by hydraulic fracturing. After the quake occurred, measuring in at 4.4 on the Richter scale, investigative research ensued. It was found that there was an unknown fault system lying between two fracking wells. David Eaton, one of the researchers involved suggested that the fracturing fluids used to create the wells increased the pore pressure along the fault, creating the minor tremors. In addition to locating an undetected fault system, the research team found that tremors can last for months after hydraulic fracturing is completed. Eaton says that these findings will be very important in furthering our understanding of why hydraulic fracturing can create earthquakes. These new findings have shed some light on the possible cause of hundreds of smaller earthquakes in the area during the past couple of years as well as reminding the fracking industry about how much still needs to be learned about the process.

                This case of hydraulic fracturing perfectly illustrates the concept of ecological uncertainty, commonly found within our staple driven Canadian economy. The news article discusses the issue of earthquakes being a cause of hydraulic fracturing as a good thing, furthering our understanding of the whole process. While this may be true, the article fails to acknowledge our own lack of knowledge on the process of fracturing and exemplifies the overlying uncertainty of the industry. Seeing as hydraulic fracturing is a relatively new development in the energy industry we are yet to fully understand the whole system dynamic as we have very little research to go off of. Specifically, the tremors being caused by the fracking exemplify the resilience of the sector, or the lack of, when it comes to drilling into shale reserves. What's more, is how willing we are as a country to go forward with fracking regardless of our clear deficiency in understanding the whole issue at hand. The industry is surrounded by uncertainty as many claim there are negative health and environmental impacts resulting. Our willingness to continue forward with the development of hydraulic fracturing despite these uncertainties is an example of how driven our economy is by resource extraction. This time however, unlike the uncertainty surrounding our fisheries for example, lives could be on the line.

                Ecological uncertainties remind us of how truly alive and unpredictable the environment really is. The uncertainties of hydraulic fracturing should be used to remind us all about how fragile our planet can be, and how, when manipulated the wrong way, it has the potential to create devastating consequences for us all.

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Hi Scally p!
I really enjoyed the topic of the blog you chose. Fracking is becoming more and more popular that I think it is important to bring to light some of the side effects that come with it. Your title encapsulates this and caught my attention when I was trying to choose a blog to comment on because it brought a little fear to the topic.

One thing that could have contributed to your blog was a quote of some sort, talking about how Aboriginals in the area are affected. They have been greatly affected by our staples economy and had already had to make various compromises. The overexploitation of the oil and gas industry has led to the Aboriginals having to alter their traditional way of life to survive and I feel like the presence of earthquakes would be the last straw. It would give a different perspective if this point of view was incorporated.

Scally p,

The title of your blog post grabbed my attention, prompting me to continue reading! Hydraulic fracturing is such a controversial practice that is gaining popularity in areas across Canada. As this means of extracting oil grows, the environmental repercussions will begin to present themselves through extreme events such as earthquakes. We would be naive to think that there wouldn’t be consequences to pumping toxic fluids into the earth at intense pressures. It’s unfortunate, but until a major incident occurs that directly impacts populations, hydraulic fracturing will continue at the rate it is currently going. Hopefully continued scientific research will be able to contribute to preventing this from happening.

Great post!

Hi i really enjoyed reading your post! I choose to write a blog on an article i found on fracking as well because the complexity and conflict surrounding the process is something which really interests me. I think this article does, as you have stated demonstrates clearly the topic of uncertainty which we have discussed in class and i think you did a really good job of incorporating this within you blog, to make it a really easy and understandable read. The problem of earthquakes and fracking has also occurred within the UK and fracking exploration has been linked to two small earthquakes in 2011 in Lancashire at the oil company Caudrillas exploration site- Reese Hall. Although smaller than the one is this article it was still a 2.3 magnitude earthquake, which i think highlights that the geology on which fracking takes place is extremely sensitive and can have consequences which like you say have the potential to be devastating. Its particularly worrying to me that fracking is still, despite evidence of just how problematic the drilling can be, being given the go ahead around the country. This clearly is an example of conflict of values between the local people who live in these areas and are directly affected and the state/ government who are prioritizing the economy.