Helpful Guide for Marcellus Landowners on Seismic Testing for Natural Gas

Seismic testing to create a map of underground geology almost always precedes gas drilling. Seismic testing has been, and continues to be, very active in Centre County, PA, appropriately named being located smack in the middle of the state. Seismic testing usually involves large trucks thumping the ground to produce vibrations picked up by computers that use the sound waves to create 2D and 3D maps of what lies beneath. Sometimes helicopters are used, and sometimes holes are drilled and small explosive charges are ignited to create sound waves.

The Centre County Natural Gas Task Force has prepared a Seismic Considerations Guide—a list of negotiating points for landowners to guide them before they agree to seismic testing on their land. According to the document, “If seismic testing is being done, you, as the surface property owner, need to set limits and notify the seismic company of sensitive areas (springs, wells, water & sewer lines, wetland areas, animals present, etc.). You definitely should not give verbal approval. Only sign permission with conditions attached.” Good advice.

MDN is embedding the entire guide below for all landowners to use should you be approached for seismic testing of your land.