Flares from newly completed natural gas wells paint an arresting image in the Pennsylvania sky. But the fiery scene above ground—a controlled test burn-off of initial gas that takes place at some wells for several days—is not as dramatic as what is happening a mile beneath the surface. Producers are using high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to unlock a natural gas resource that geologists have known about for 75 years. Read article: "Forcing Gas Out of Rock With Water"

Lighting a New Path

Flares from newly completed natural gas wells paint an arresting image in the Pennsylvania sky. But the fiery scene above ground—a controlled test burn-off of initial gas that takes place at some wells for several days—is not as dramatic as what is happening a mile beneath the surface. Producers are using high-volume hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling to unlock a natural gas resource that geologists have known about for 75 years. Read article: "Forcing Gas Out of Rock With Water"
Photograph by Scott Goldsmith, National Geographic

The Science of Shale Gas

By combining and super-charging old oil field technologies, U.S. energy industry innovators unlocked the natural gas found in deep shale rock—paving the way for a rush on the huge Marcellus shale formation that underlies Pennsylvania.

Read This Next

Why kids need their own COVID-19 vaccine trials

A black-footed ferret has been cloned, a first for a U.S. endangered species

3-ton parts of Stonehenge may have been carried from earlier monuments

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet