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Potential Fracking Sites in Western Maryland

Honor Student Potential Fracking Sites in Western Maryland

Department: Geography
Symposium Year: 2013
Student(s): Amy M. Brennan
Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Matthew Ramspott

 

Marcellus shale is the largest gas-bearing shale formation in the United States, and lies under several Appalachian states, including Western Maryland.  This gas is extracted through hydraulic fracturing (also known as fracking).  Several states, such as Pennsylvania, have been very active in drilling, but Maryland has held off in order to learn from other states.  While fracking would result in increased economic activity, there are concerns as to its cost on nearby communities and the environment.  Knowing the areas that would be most likely affected by fracking would allow data to be collected that could be useful in preserving the integrity of those vicinities.  The goal of this project was to determine the most likely sites in Western Maryland for well pads to be installed.  This was done by identifying factors that impact the suitability of a site for fracking, such as proximity to humans, environmental characteristics, and historical significance.  Next, data about these factors was collected, including a digital elevation model, land use/land cover, and protected lands.  The data was then analyzed with the use of GIS, and a map indicating the most likely potential fracking sites was produced.  

 

 

 

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