by Angela Li
March 26, 2012
Hydraulic fracturing, more widely known as fracking, is a process in which a fluid is pumped at high pressure into a geologic formation to break up the rock, and release oil or gas trapped within. The oil or gas is subsequently siphoned out, along with any recovered fracking fluid (water combined with chemicals such as isopropanol). Frequently, these geologic formations are shale formations, and it is shale gas (an increasingly important form of natural gas) that is being extracted. Fracking has been largely embraced as a source of job creation and as helping the US on its way to energy independence, and shale gas is considered by many to be a cleaner-burning alternative to coal and other fossil fuels.