Scientists Say: Fracking
Fracking (noun, “FRAAH-king”)
Fracking is the short word for hydraulic fracturing. It is a technique used to get oil and natural gas from rock, usually from a type of rock called shale. Over millions of years, natural gas or petroleum can build up between layers of shale rock. To get at this energy source, engineers drill deep roles into the rock. Then, they pump in liquid at very high pressure. The fluid shatters the rock, which frees the fossil fuels so that they can be pumped to the surface. Any other liquids that come out, including the fluids pumped into the holes, tend to get injected back underground.
In a sentence
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crude oil Petroleum in the form that it comes out of the ground.
fossil fuels Any fuel — such as coal, petroleum (crude oil) or natural gas — that has developed in the Earth over millions of years from the decayed remains of bacteria, plant or animals.
hydraulic fracturing, or fracking The cracking open of undergound rocks by introducing liquid at high pressure, especially to extract natural gas. Those cracks are then held open by sand that had been added to the fracking fluid.
natural gas A mix of gases that developed underground, like crude oil (and often in association with crude oil) over, millions of years. Most natural gas starts out as 50 to 90 percent methane, along with small amounts of heavier hydrocarbons, such as propane and butane.
petroleum A thick flammable liquid mixture of hydrocarbons. Petroleum is a fossil fuel mainly found beneath the Earth’s surface. It is the source of the chemicals used to make gasoline, lubricating oils, plastics and many other products.
pressure Force applied uniformly over a surface, measured as force per unit of area.