Hydraulic Fracturing

What it is, how it works, and advantages and disadvantages.

  • Hydraulic Fracturing is the process of extracting natural gas from the ground by using pressurized liquid to crack the rock around the gas.
  • While 99.5 percent of the fluids used consist of water and sand, some chemicals are added to improve the flow. The composition of the chemical mixes varies from well to well.


  • In a hydraulic fracturing job, "fracturing fluids" or "pumping fluids" are made up of primarily water, chemicals, and some sand mixed together. The fluids are pressurized and injected into the rock formations to crack the rocks. This allows the extraction of the natural gas/oil.
    • Casing and cementing are critical parts of hyrdofracking because it protects the land and drinking water from the harmful chemicals. It is also important in the oil and natural gas production from hydrocarbon bearing zones.

What are the risks of hydro fracking?

  • Damage to livestock and crops
  • Water contamination of toxic chemicals
  • Well blowouts
  • Migration of radioactive materials to the surface
  • There are a thousand wells in the U.S. and each well uses 3 million to 9 million gallons of water.

What are the advantages of hydro fracking?

  • Production rate of oil/natural gas increases

Comment Stream

2 years ago

Good use of imagery here. I hear we have more wet gas here as opposed to dry gas and I notice your graph is for dry gas and that intrigues me to compare the 2. Have a great summer. Great having you in class.