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EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

Numerical analysis of fracture propagation during hydraulic fracturing operations in shale gas systems

Jihoon Kim and George Moridis. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences. June 2015.

Summary

Researchers used the TOUGH+ geomechanics computational software and simulation system to examine the likelihood of hydraulic fracture propagation (the spread of fractures) traveling long distances to connect with drinking water aquifers. The simulations indicate that typical hydraulic fracturing operations do not appear to generate an unstable growth of a fracture in the shale gas reservoir to the drinking water aquifer unless unrealistic high pressure and high injection rates are directly applied to an extremely weak and homogenous geological formation that extends up to the near surface. This work was done as part of EPA's Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing for Oil and Gas on Drinking Water Resources.

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