Applied Geochemistry

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Geochemical and isotopic variations in shallow groundwater in areas of the Fayetteville shale development, north-central Arkansas
Applied Geochemistry

Exploration of unconventional natural gas reservoirs such as impermeable shale basins through the use of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing has changed the energy landscape in the U.S.A. providing a vast new energy source. The accelerated production of natural gas has triggered a debate concerning the safety and possible environmental impacts of these operations. This study investigates one of the critical aspects of the environmental effects; the possible degradation of water quality in shallow aquifers overlying producing shale formations. The geochemistry of domestic groundwater wells was investigated in aquifers overlying the Fayetteville Shale in north-central Arkansas, where approximately 4,000 wells have been drilled since 2004 to extract unconventional natural gas. Monitoring was performed on 127 drinking water wells and the geochemistry of major ions, trace metals, CH4 gas content and its C isotopes and select isotope tracers compared to the composition of flowback-water samples directly from Fayetteville Shale gas wells. […] The integration of multiple geochemical and isotopic proxies shows no direct evidence of contamination in shallow drinking-water aquifers associated with natural gas extraction from the Fayetteville Shale.

La signification de tout ce jargon scientifique: les auteurs de cette étude ont montré que les l’eau potable n’a pas été contaminée par les 4 000 puits de gaz de schiste creusés dans la région de Fayetteville.

On peut parier qu’aucun médias québécois ne jugera bon parler de cette recherche…