Frack Off

Having gasped at homeowners lighting their tap water on fire in the documentary movie, Gasland, I'm hardly surprised that Duke University researchers found methane levels in private water wells 17 times higher when those wells were located within 1,000 feet of a natural gas drilling site.

The scientists sampled water from 68 wells in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York, finding the harmful gas in 85 percent of the wells. The study was published Monday in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More to come, I'm sure, but until then, gargle on this from the breaking story:

When they fingerprinted the methane itself — comparing the chemistry of the methane in the water wells with that of the gas from natural gas wells in the region — “the signatures matched,” said Robert B. Jackson, Nicholas Professor of Global Environmental Change at Duke, one of the study’s authors.

So a tasteless, colorless, odorless -- but explosive -- gas has unique traceable properties researchers can use to ID it like DNA? Who knew?

-- Monica Yant Kinney


(