Appalachian Basin

Cathles on the Marcellus Shale

Recently, I stumbled across a blog by Larry Cathles, the Cornell faculty member who documented flaws in another Cornell study by Howarth, et al that suggested natural gas was somehow dirtier than other fossil fuels due to methane emissions and the like.  We wrote about both here.

The Cathles blog, entitled Perspectives on the Marcellus Gas Resource, addresses the benefits and risks associated with Marcellus Shale gas development in an independent manner and it’s one of the most readable sources of data I’ve seen.  It also includes links to several back-up documents that go into more detail, but are still very user-friendly.  The whole thing is organized in a question and answer format, with both “quick answers” and more detailed explanations and supporting materials.

Upon discovering the blog, I asked for and received the permission of Cathles to link to it.  So here it is, without further editorial comment, as a resource for our readers, along with the questions answered:

Perspectives on the Marcellus Gas Resource

  1. How big is the Marcellus resource?
  2. What is its geological story and why is it full of gas with no water?
  3. Does natural gas leak naturally?
  4. What are the upsides of gas recovery?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Will the water required for fracking deplete our water supplies?
  7. Why may the returned water contain radioactive elements like radium and how can this be handled or avoided?
  8. How much will traffic be increased and will there be road damage?
  9. Is natural gas good or bad for global warming?
  10. Will gas development be ugly?
  11. What are the alternatives?
  12. Has ther been gas drilling or production in Tompkins County before?
  13. How do capillarly seals prevent flow and contain high pressure gas in the Marcellus?
  14. What do ground water chemistry studies in Northeastern Pennsylvania tell us about methane leakage?

Learn and enjoy!

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