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Mar 22, 2017 11:18 AM EDT

Hydraulic Fracturing Affects Climate and Water Quality [Video]

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A lecture at the Loyola University New Orleans explained the effects of hydraulic fracturing to climate and water quality on March 21. The invited speaker was Dr. Robert Jackson from Stanford University.

Dr. Robert Jackson is a climate expert who had received various awards and recognition for his work. He has been the co-chair of the Global Carbon Project. This project aimed at providing the public with a clear idea about the global carbon cycle. In his lecture, he explained how oil wells drilled using hydraulic fracturing can cause harm to the environment especially to the quality of water and the climate, according to Loyola University New Orleans.

Hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" refers to the process of pumping water, sand and chemicals underground. This causes the rocks to break so that gas comes out. This process has been used by almost 90 percent of companies that drill oil and gas wells.

The pressure of water, sand and chemicals pumped into the well creates a horizontal well. The high pressure caused fissures to form on rocks. Sand kept the fissures open and gas goes up into the well. Water recovered is pumped into a pit and later taken for treatment.

Hydraulic fracturing has drastic effects on water supply, the biosphere and the atmosphere leading to climate change. In a research conducted by Dr. Jackson and his team, it was discovered that there were gas leaks in major cities in the United States. These gas leaks an cause explosions. Once inhaled, it could pose danger to people's health. Scientists fear that chemicals pumped underground could contaminate the water. Waste water can also rise up to the surface and affect water supply, according to Pro Publica.

The lecture was sponsored by the Biology Department, Loyola Environment Program and Professor Walter G. Moore Endowed Fund in Ecology of Loyola University New Orleans.

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