Shale Gas and Fracking

Shale Gas and Fracking

The Science Behind the Controversy

1st Edition - February 2, 2015

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  • Author: Michael Stephenson
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128016060
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128017623

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Shale Gas and Fracking: The Science Behind the Controversy explains the relevant geological principles before examining the peer-reviewed evidence and presenting it through a simple and compelling illustrated narrative. Each chapter focuses on a particular controversy, such contamination of well water with gas from fracking, and follows a similar format: starting with the principles; then detailing peer-reviewed case studies for earthquakes, radioactivity, and climate change; and concluding with a judgment of the general risks involved. Shale Gas and Fracking: The Science Behind the Controversy provides readers with the unbiased information they need to make informed decisions on the controversial issue of fracking.

Key Features

  • Presents a clear and unbiased view of the pros and cons of fracking in Europe and the US, through a simple and compelling narrative from an informed publicly-funded scientist
  • Includes full-colour diagrams, photographs, and maps to present information clearly and simply
  • Focuses on peer-reviewed, documented examples, particularly of earthquakes and groundwater contamination due to fracking


geoscientists, environmental scientists, state and local government, planners, industry executives and policymakers

Table of Contents

    • Dedication
    • Preface
    • Acknowledgements
    • Chapter 1. The Fuss about Shale
      • The Game Changer
      • The Flip Side
      • Back to the Facts?
    • Chapter 2. Shale, Shale Everywhere
      • How Shale Forms
      • Working Out How Much Gas There Is
      • Resource and Reserve
      • North America
      • It All Seems So Simple
    • Chapter 3. To Frack or Not to Frack?
      • Fracking in Action
      • How Do Engineers Know Where the Fractures Go?
      • Sweet Spots
    • Chapter 4. Gas in Our Water?
      • Fracking and Groundwater
      • The Mystery of the Flaming Tap
      • So Is It Safe or Not?
    • Chapter 5. Did the Earth Move?
      • Faults and Earthquakes
      • Water Disposal and Earthquakes
      • What Is the Risk?
    • Chapter 6. The Shale Gas Factory
      • What Does It Mean for Me?
      • Nuisance or Real Danger?
    • Chapter 7. Shale Gas and Climate
      • So Should Shale Gas Be Left in the Ground?
      • Does Shale Gas Have a Place in Modern Energy?
    • Chapter 8. Keeping Watch
      • Who Owns the Gas?
      • Social Licence
      • Monitoring for Change
      • Improving the Quality of the Debate
    • Chapter 9. The Science behind the Controversy
      • The Value of Applied Science
    • Glossary
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 170
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2015
  • Published: February 2, 2015
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128016060
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128017623

About the Author

Michael Stephenson

Michael Stephenson
Michael Stephenson is an expert on energy and climate change and has a unique mixture of experience in modern climate and energy science, policy, “deep time” climate science, and coal and petroleum geology. He has published two books on related subjects and over 80 peer-reviewed papers. His recently published book Shale gas and fracking: the science behind the controversy (Elsevier) won an ‘honourable mention’ at the Association of American Publishers PROSE awards in Washington DC in February 2016. He is also Editor-in-Chief of the Elsevier Journal Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology. In addition, as Chief Scientist of the British Geological Survey, Michael Stephenson has represented UK science interests in energy, as well as providing extensive advice to the UK Government.

Affiliations and Expertise

Director of Science and Technology, British Geological Survey, UK

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