‘Fracking’ Mobilizes Uranium in Marcellus Shale, UB Research Finds

Scientific and political disputes over drilling the Marcellus shale for natural gas have focused primarily on the environmental effects of pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground to blast through rocks to release the natural gas.

But University at Buffalo researchers have now found that that process — called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” — also causes uranium that is naturally trapped inside the Marcellus shale to be released, raising additional environmental concerns.

The research will be presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver on Nov. 2.

The Marcellus shale is a massive rock formation that stretches from New York through Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and which is often described as the nation’s largest source of natural gas.

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