Hydraulic Fracturing & the Marcellus Shale

The Marcellus Shale

What is Hydrofracking?

Hydraulic fracturing: Fracturing of rock at depth with fluid pressure. Hydraulic fracturing at depth may be accomplished by pumping water into a well at very high pressures. Under natural conditions, vapor pressure may rise high enough to cause fracturing in a process known as hydrothermal brecciation. (EIA Glossary U.S. Information Administration Glosary )

What is Fracking?

Diagram of a Typilca Hyraulic Fraction Operation


Natural Gas Extraction from New York’s Shales: How it’s Done and Why it’s Done That Way (pdf)
by Dr. Ron Bishop, SUNY-Oneonta

Hydraulic Fracturing: American Petroleum Institute
Industry perspective.

Paelontological Research Institute/Musem of the Earth - located in Ithaca New York

Key Words

  • Fracking
  • HydroFracking
  • Hydraulic Fracturing
  • Marcellus Shale
  • Natural Gas
  • Wastewater - fracking
  • Pollution
  • Earthquake Swarms
  • The Clean Air Act
  • The Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Shale Play
  • Shale Basins


Probably the best single source for peer-reviewed scientific information on this topic.

An index drawing on the connection between the environment and disciplines such as agriculture, education, law, health and technology. GreenFILE provides a unique perspective on the positive and negative ways humans affect the environment. Nearly 300,000 records (full text for selected titles) from scholarly and general interest titles, as well as government documents and reports.

Toxicology data network from the National Library of Medicine. Databases on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. The most complete toxicology information is often found in the entries from the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB).

Indexes a HUGE number of government publications, including DOE and NBII.

Thomas - Legislative Information
Includes text of bills.  Search on "Frac act" to see some of the current legislation.

CQ Researcher Report: Domestic Energy Development pdf
This is an older document (2005) from CQ Researcher that discusses the benefits and dangers of increased domestic oil drilling.

Academic Search Premier
If you search on "Marcellus Shale" (remember the quotation marks), you'll get some potentially useful articles from newspapers and magazines.

LexisNexis Academic
Another good database for media coverage of the issue.

Geology of the Formation

Marcellus Shale Play's Vast Resource Potential Creating Stir in Appalachia pdf
2008 Paper describing the geomorphology of the region.

Roadside geology of Pennsylvania by Bradford B. Van Diver (Missoula, Mont. : Mountain Press Pub. Co., 1990)

Oil and Gas Drilling

Air and Gas Drilling Manual Engineering Applications for Water Wells, Monitoring Wells, Mining Boreholes, Geotechnical Boreholes, and Oil and Gas Recovery Wells by William C. Lyons et al. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001)

Drilling Engineering by Jamal J. Azar et al. (Tulsa, OK: PennWell, 2007)

Drilling for Oil & Gas: a Nontechnical Guide by Steve Devereux (Tulsa, OK: PennWell, 1999)

Kent and Riegel's Handbook of Industrial Chemistry and Biotechnology
Ref TP145 .R53 2007
Includes a chapter on natural gas, vol. 2, p. 907ff.

Modern fracturing : enhancing natural gas production
Detailed treatment of the technology of hydraulic fracturing, including how and why the technique is used.  A brief history of the technique is also included.

Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States: A Primer - report prepared for the DOE

Production Chemicals for the Oil and Gas Industry
This comprehensive text discusses all types of production chemicals used by the oil and gas industry for down hole and topside applications both onshore and offshore. The author reviews all past and present classes of production chemicals with numerous difficult to obtain references, especially SPE papers and patents. Unlike other texts that focus on how products perform in the field, this book instead focuses on the specific structures of chemicals that are known to deliver the required or desired performance, which is much more useful to research and development staff. It also addresses the environmental aspects of chemicals, where known.

Rock mechanics : new research
Collection of papers dealing with the mechanical properties of rock formations, especially as they relate to drilling and mining operations.

Contact Us

picture of Lisabeth Chabot

Lisabeth Chabot

College Librarian
(607) 274-3182

Search Argos

Fracking Resources

Fracking Controversy: Thirty-page overview published December 16th 2011 by CQ Researcher (IC Library database log-in required).

Modern Shale Gas Development in the United States--A Primer: A 2009 report from the Department of Energy.

Hydraulic Fracturing: Web resources from the EPA.

Sourcewatch: Fracking: Sourcewatch is an online encyclopedia of the Center for Media and Democracy, who describe themselves as "non-partisan" but also as a "consumer watchdog group."  Also see their entry for the Marcellus Shale.

Sandra Steingraber, Distinguished Scholar in Residence in the Department of Environmental Studies and Science at Ithaca College, has written an award-winning essay on Fracking that was published in Orion Magazine in 2010.

Hydraulic Fracturing 101: This is an anti-fracking site from Earthworks with a wide range of information.

Hydraulic Fracturing and the Marcellus Shale: 90 minute video of an "event" at Cornell, featuring a public discussion/debate of the environmental issues.  Also check out the Fracking Web site of the  Associate Dean of the Engineering School at Cornell, Rick Allmendinger.

Hydraulic Fracturing Facts: a pro-fracking site from Chesapeake Energy.

Toxic Chemicals on Tap: How Natural Gas Drilling Threatens Drinking Water: online monograph from Environment Illinois Research and Policy Center.

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