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.