Auburn Road Faces Seismic Testing: First in a Series

Auburn Road Faces Seismic Testing: First in a Series

Sr. Susan Kurth, SND, lives in the house located at the south eastern edge of our provincial center property on Auburn Road. Surrounded by fields and meadows on three sides, she is accustomed to the sights of seasonal changes. The everyday sounds of traffic ebb and flow along Auburn Road also create a familiar pattern.

This past September, Sr. Susan was home alone when a series of four huge trucks lined up tightly and moved along the road in front of the house. “Seismic Chord Crossing” signs posted at intersections earlier in the day had announced what was about to happen.

In Sr. Susan’s words: “Metal plates were lowered to the ground from underneath the trucks. Soon the earth shook from strong vibrations running through the plates. Objects on the dining room table freely bounced around. The whole house shook! Outside the dining room window I saw a man sitting on the ground with a computer…. Most probably he was receiving feedback from the sound vibrations that would provide data to map the geologic formations below.”

Sr. Susan’s close-to-home account of seismic testing begins our series in the exploration of hydraulic fracturing, commonly called fracking. This relatively new drilling technology now makes it possible to reach deep natural gas reserves that underlie much of the state of Ohio. Fracking is a deep-shale natural gas drilling process that uses high-pressure injection of water, sand and chemicals to release natural gas. After drilling vertically thousands of feet to the shale, the drill bit is turned horizontally and pushed into the shale as much as a mile or more. Preceding the drilling process, seismic testing is done by “thumper trucks” to locate pockets of gas and oil trapped in the shale rock below.

Learn more about seismic testing: click here.

View a 6 minute film titled: “Animation of Hydraulic Fracturing”  

Photo by Sr. Susan Kurth, SND

Next in the series: Pros and Cons of Fracking: 10 simple Facts