First risk assessment of shale gas fracking to biodiversity

June 17, 2013

Fracking, the controversial method of mining shale gas, is widespread across Pennsylvania, covering up to 280,000 km² of the Appalachian Basin. New research in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences explores the threat posed to biodiversity including pollution from toxic chemicals, the building of well pads and pipelines, and changes to wetlands.

" has engendered a great deal of controversy, largely because of its impact on human health, but effects on and resources have scarcely been addressed in the public debate," said study author Erik Kiviat.

"This study indicated a wide range of potential impacts, some of which could be severe, including salinization of soils and surface waters and fragmentation of forests. The degree of industrialization of shale gas landscapes, and the 285,000 km² extent of the Marcellus and Utica shale gas region alone, should require great caution regarding impacts on biodiversity."

Explore further: Shale fields 'add 47% to global gas reserves'

More information: Erik Kiviat, 'Risks to biodiversity from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shales', Annals of the New York Academy of Science, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/nyas.12146

Related Stories

UK 'likely' to have 102 trln cubic feet of shale gas

June 3, 2013

British exploration company IGas Energy on Monday said it believed it was sitting on a far bigger amount of shale gas than thought, ahead of controversial drilling work to begin this year in northwest England.

Analysis of fracking wastewater yields some surprises

January 22, 2013

Hydraulically fractured natural gas wells are producing less wastewater per unit of gas recovered than conventional wells would. But the scale of fracking operations in the Marcellus shale region is so vast that the wastewater ...

Recommended for you

Multinationals act on ocean-clogging plastics

January 16, 2017

Forty of the world's biggest companies assembled in Davos agreed on Monday to come up with cleaner ways to make and consume plastic as waste threatens the global eco-system, especially in oceans.

How the darkness and the cold killed the dinosaurs

January 16, 2017

66 million years ago, the sudden extinction of the dinosaurs started the ascent of the mammals, ultimately resulting in humankind's reign on Earth. Climate scientists have now reconstructed how tiny droplets of sulfuric acid ...

Tracking Antarctic adaptations in diatoms

January 16, 2017

Diatoms are a common type of photosynthetic microorganism, found in many environments from marine to soil; in the oceans, they are responsible for more than a third of the global ocean carbon captured during photosynthesis. ...

Study tracks 'memory' of soil moisture

January 16, 2017

The top 2 inches of topsoil on all of Earth's landmasses contains an infinitesimal fraction of the planet's water—less than one-thousandth of a percent. Yet because of its position at the interface between the land and ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

d_robison
not rated yet Jun 17, 2013
Amazing writing...article consists of two quotes and a link to the actual paper. Journalism at its finest.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.