A paper published this week in Science reviews what we know about the water quality impacts of shale gas development and hydraulic fracturing. And the conclusion is… still not that much.
This despite the fact that “fracking,” as it is commonly called, has been in play since the 1940s – for nearly 80 years – to extract hard-to-reach natural gas deposits.
People who write about water like to say that the liquid in our drinking glasses and toilet bowls has been with us since the age of dinosaurs, continually recycled through plants, animals (including us) and the atmosphere. But really, some of the water on (and in) Earth was here billions of years before T. rex terrorized Triceratops. And now, research released today shows that, nearly 4.5 billion years ago, Earth shared some of that water with the Moon.
It was around that time that a Mars-size object collided with Earth, or so the Giant Impact theory goes. Debris released from the impact object became locked in orbit around the planet, eventually coming together to form our Moon.
The theory also used to go that the Moon was originally dry, any water present during the collision wouldn’t have survived impact. Water found on the moon would have had to come from subsequent meteorite and comet strikes. But a study published today from the Carnegie Institution for Science in D.C., Brown University and Case Western Reserve University provides evidence otherwise — that any water found on the Moon could have, and probably did, come from our planet and has been there all along.
Happy World Water Day and welcome to Water Works — a blog about the deep and shallow aspects of our planet’s lakes, rivers, and seemingly vast stores of underground water. Earth’s water supply works for us in thousands of ways — we employ it to fuel energy production; we harness it to make cement and computers; and of all of the freshwater flowing on the planet, we divert a whopping 70 percent through increasingly elaborate irrigation systems to grow food and other crops.
I’ve spent the last few years taking fieldtrips of sorts with farmers, engineers, chemists, fishermen, and a whole host of wildlife to see how we capture, treat, and distribute this critical resource. Water Works will be a way to share some of those stories, as well as comment on water-related news — from droughts and fracking to river restoration and new nanotechnology filters. The blog will keep you updated on relevant reports, projects, and peer-reviewed research that reflect and help shape the way we perceive and interact with the fresh elements of the hydrosphere.