Researchers Look for Life in Marcellus Shale – Natural Fracking?

Journey to the Center of the EarthThis sounds like something out of a Jules Verne novel. You may recall from school that Verne wrote some of the earliest sci-fi adventures ever, like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Journey to the Center of the Earth. In Journey, Verne wrote about strange and mysterious critters that live deep in the earth–in rock caverns. Turns out Verne may not have been so far from the truth after all. And there’s a tie-in with the Marcellus Shale and with fracking. In November West Virginia University and Ohio State University received an $11 million grant by the federal government to study the Marcellus and Utica Shale (see WVU/OSU Get $11M Grant to Study Shale Energy Best Practices). Work is progressing. Researchers with the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory are taking rock core samples to see if there are microbes living 7,000 feet below the surface in the Marcellus Shale rock layer that could, if present, potentially be “fed” causing them to multiply and grow and maybe even naturally frack (break apart) rock layers, allowing us to get more natural gas and oil from those layers. It sounds pretty far-fetched–but stranger things have happened! Here’s the story of looking for life miles below the surface of the earth in the Marcellus…

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