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High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Quality

Speaker: Nathaniel Warner, Dartmouth College
Series: CEE Departmental Seminars
Location: Bowen Hall Auditorium
Date/Time: Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.


By directly targeting hydrocarbon sources in low-permeability shale formations, horizontal drilling and high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) is changing the energy landscape in North America. Though highly debated, rapid expansion of HVHF operations has been linked to degradation of air quality, water quality, and human health. New geochemical tools are necessary to identify specific geochemical fingerprints associated with HVHF fluids and remove the some of the ambiguity surrounding this energy revolution. The specific signature can be used for numerous applications including assessment of possible long-term environmental impacts, potential hydrocarbon resource recovery, and tracing HVHF fluid disposal in the environment. This presentation will identify and explain the geochemical fingerprint that is specific to HVHF and then quantify HVHF impacts to water resources from accidental releases, permitted disposal, and pad operations.


Dr. Nathaniel Warner uses elemental and isotopic ratios to determine the origin of salinity in water resources. Recently, his worked has focused on the possible degradation of groundwater and surface water quality from high volume slick-water hydraulic fracturing “fracking”. Nathaniel has over 5 years of experience as an environmental consultant, degrees from Hamilton College (BA), Miami University (MS), and Duke University (PhD) and is currently a Joseph B Obering Postdoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth College.