Could fracking technology be used to raise land threatened with water inundation

  • #1
High pressure Fracking technology can shatter deep rock structures. Could those pressures be used to pump material underground to raise the surrounding land area and so counter inundation from sealevel rise, as an alternative to building dykes and sea walls?
 

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  • #2
Bystander
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Google "conservation laws" and come back and tell us what you think.
 
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  • #4
davenn
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The real problem is, fracking causes masses of earthquakes. Not something you would want to intentionally do directly under a city and its suburbs
 
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The real problem is, fracking causes masses of earthquakes. Not something you would want to intentionally do directly under a city and its suburbs
In general the seismic activity is very low level, but there would be certainly be a PR issue to deal with.

Technically, with the right geology, this would be entirely feasible and possible with existing technology. To some extent it is simply a reverse of the observed sinking of land that occurs in some areas where there has been extensive hydrocarbon production. For example, subsidence of the seabed above the Ekofisk field in Norway was several metres.The economics, however, would be frightening - just perhaps not as frightening as drowning.
 
  • #6
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That would require a massive amount of injection under ocean-side cities, much more than would happen from fracking. And the resulting disturbances would be large and unpredictable.
 
  • #7
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What will happen, where water or oil has been removed from under land near or adjacent to the sea, is that sea water will flow into the underground formation. Unless, of course, someone builds a desalinization plant and puts fresh water into the formation instead. (Yes, rivers can do this away from the sea, and if you can pipe in fresh water, great. Now apply this thinking to Los Angeles.)

Putting on my economist hat, there may be people pulling water or oil out of the ground, who may not like the idea of adding sea water. Some cases, you get secondary recovery by adding (salt or fresh) water to an oil producing formation. In those cases though, you don't have to worry about doing it, it is already being done.

Would it be worthwhile to study what is happening near cities like LA and Houston? If you can get the data, go right ahead. Hmm. Two sets of seismic data from the same location, several years apart, and you should be all set.
 
  • #8
davenn
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In general the seismic activity is very low level, but there would be certainly be a PR issue to deal with.
in general the seismic activity from fracking is rather bad
you only need to see what has been happening just east of Oklahoma City OK, over the last 5+ years
 
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  • #9
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in general the seismic activity from fracking is rather bad
you only need to see what has been happening just east of Oklahoma City OK, over the last 5+ years
There have been issues with fracking here in Alberta as well.
 
  • #10
davenn
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There have been issues with fracking here in Alberta as well.
ahh ok ... wasn't aware of activities up in that area

in the OK situation, the seismicity levels are substantially higher than what background levels would otherwise be
 
  • #11
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ahh ok ... wasn't aware of activities up in that area

in the OK situation, the seismicity levels are substantially higher than what background levels would otherwise be
Seismic activity is up here as well. Water contamination seems to be the bigger problem.
 
  • #12
mheslep
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The real problem is, fracking causes masses of earthquakes. Not something you would want to intentionally do directly under a city and its suburbs
Not fracking per se, but the underground sequestration of waste water has been responsible for significant if not large quakes. In some areas experiencing quakes during fracking, the waste water disposal was discontinued while fracking continued and the quakes stopped.

USGS:
Earthquakes Induced by Fluid Injection

Does the production of natural gas from shales cause earthquakes? If so, how are the earthquakes related to these operations?

To produce natural gas from shale formations, it is necessary to increase the interconnectedness of the pore space (permeability) of the shale so that the gas can flow through the rock mass and be extracted through production wells. This is usually done by hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"). Fracking causes extremely small earthquakes, but they are almost always too small to be a safety concern. In addition to natural gas, fracking fluids and salt water trapped in the same formation as the gas are returned to the surface. These wastewaters are frequently disposed of by injection into deep wells. The injection of wastewater and salt water into the subsurface can cause earthquakes that are large enough to be felt and may cause damage.
 
  • #13
davenn
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Not fracking per se, but the underground sequestration of waste water has been responsible for significant if not large quakes. In some areas experiencing quakes during fracking, the waste water disposal was discontinued while fracking continued and the quakes stopped.

Yeah, I was planning to differentiate between the 2 .... but the end result is the same :rolleyes: :wink:
 
  • #14
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Yeah, I was planning to differentiate between the 2 .... but the end result is the same :rolleyes: :wink:
No, the two are very different. One is producing needed low-carbon energy, the other is payola gone wild.

Huh? Regulators allowing people to inject more (salt) water into shallow underground formations than oil was removed is criminal. As I indicated, secondary recovery is a well known practice and has been going on over 50 years. But pumping water under pressure into the ground where there are no voids to take it? Well known way to create earthquakes. So why is it done? The guy who filled the formation may have been highly respectable, but the guy who bought the equipment as scrap can make some "extra" money by pumping in more water.

Note that the only connection with fracking here is that (fracking) gas producers don't want to re-inject the water that comes out with the gas back into the same formation. They may have only one (deep) well accessing the formation, using it to inject water would be counterproductive. And anyway deep injection beyond what the formation can hold would take huge pressures and well casings with more steel than a couple of battleships. This is why the problem is only with injection into shallow wells often dug more than 50 years ago, and where modern well logging does not exist. Oil recoverable by secondary (water-injection) and tertiary (detergent) production is gone.

BTW, don't think of me as a shill for oil and gas producers. More of a shill for scientific (not political) regulation of drilling and injection. There are many states where fracking and excellent regulation occur, like Pennsylvania and North Dakota. There are a few, where, well, I don't live and I am glad of it.
 
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  • #15
mheslep
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Yeah, I was planning to differentiate between the 2 .... but the end result is the same :rolleyes: :wink:
Do have any references, or experience in drilling operations? As the USGS indicates, the results are completely different, fracking and underground water disposal.

This thread needs to end.
 
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  • #16
Baluncore
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Ignoring the seismic effects and politics of fracking …

The volume of material needed to raise land is proportional to the area being raised and so will increase faster than the volume needed to build a dyke or sea wall which is simply proportional to boundary length.

Where an area had dropped due to the removal of oil, gas or fresh water, then it might be raised again by pumping sea water back into the underground reservoir. That does not require fracking technology.

Where an underground reservoir was found, fracking technology could be used to expand that reservoir and raise the land. It is most unlikely that a reservoir would conveniently be where it was needed. There may be one or two places that a new reservoir could be created by fracking, but it would be a very expensive operation.

You might consider fracking and pumping of a grout into the mud under say Venice. Can you imagine the cost of such an activity, let alone the associated legal liabilities. Why might you pump something underground that becomes solid, when you could better control and distribute it on the surface.

It costs less to build a hollow boat or pontoon hull than an island. The boat building cost will be the same no matter how high it later floats on the rising sea level.
 
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  • #17
mheslep
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  • #18
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The thread is reopened. All future posts in this thread must include peer reviewed scientific references.
 
  • #19
But there are no peer reviewed scientific references regarding using fracking to raise land.
 
  • #20
mheslep
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But there are no peer reviewed scientific references regarding using fracking to raise land.
:biggrin:
 
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  • #21
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But there are no peer reviewed scientific references regarding using fracking to raise land.
So then don't make any claims about it. But any other related claims that are made need to be supported by the literature.
 
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