University of Michigan researchers are conducting a detailed study of the potential environmental and societal effects of hydraulic fracturing, the controversial natural gas drilling process known as fracking. Professor Knute Nadelhoffer is part of a team of interdisciplinary researchers involved.
In hydraulic fracturing, large amounts of water, sand and chemicals are injected deep underground to break apart rock and free trapped natural gas. Though the process has been used for decades, recent technical advances have helped unlock vast stores of previously inaccessible natural gas, resulting in a fracking boom.
Now U-M researchers are working with government regulators, oil and gas industry representatives and environmental groups to explore seven critical areas related to the use of hydraulic fracturing in Michigan: human health, the environment and ecology, economics, technology, public perception, law and policy, and geology/hydrodynamics.
Detailed technical reports on the seven subject areas are to be released early next year for public comment.
U-M News Service press release and video