Figures & Tables
New technology has opened vast reserves of "unconventional" natural gas and oil from shales like the Marcellus in the Appalachian Basin, making the United States essentially energy independent for the first time in decades. Shale gas had its origins in the oil embargos and energy crises of the 1970s, which led to government research to increase domestic energy supplies. The first large-scale shale gas production was successful on the Barnett Shale in Texas in the late 1990s, followed a few years later by the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. Shale gas has changed thinking about fossil energy supplies worldwide, but the development of these resources has been controversial. Activists have made claims that hydraulic fracturing may contribute to climate change, threaten groundwater resources, and pose risks to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and human health. This volume explores the geology, history, technology, and potential environmental impacts of Marcellus Shale gas resources.