What is Marcellus Shale?

The Marcellus shale is a fine-grained layer of sedimentary rock, deposited 350 million years ago, that contains natural gas. Although it sometimes crops out on the surface, the average depth is 4,000-8,500 feet and ranges in thickness from 50-200 feet.

For more information visit: www.naturalgas.org


What is Hydraulic Fracturing?

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is the process of injecting millions of gallons of water, chemicals, and manufactured sand into the ground to fracture the shale and release the gas.

For more information visit: www.mgs.md.gov


What Makes Shale Gas different from Conventional Gas?

Conventional gas is most often released through conventional drilling from a shallow pocket.  Shale gas development requires three technologies combined to make gas extraction cost effective. Directional drilling to access the shale deposits, high fracking fluid volumes to release the gas, and slick water (a second mix of chemicals, sand and water) to control the amount of power. Shale must be fractured in order for gas to be released.  In the Marcellus, drilling is both vertical to reach the depth of the shale and
horizontal to break up more of the shale layer.

For more information visit: www.healthandenvironment.org


Where is the Marcellus Shale in Maryland?

The Marcellus shale is located in Garrett and Allegany Counties in western Maryland. “An industry representative has estimated that as many as 1,600 wells could be drilled in 128,000 acres in Garrett County and another 637 wells in 51,000 drillable acres in Allegany County.”

For more information visit:  www.mde.state.md.us