US: Pennsylvania State geologists in the US are mapping the location of the deepest water aquifers in response to the upsurge in natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation. With Marcellus wells reaching several thousand feet deeper than traditional shallow gas wells, locating the deep aquifers will tell geologists where potable water supplies that could be affected by drilling operations can be found.
The Pennsylvania Topographic and Geologic Survey, one of state government’s oldest offices dating to 1836, is taking on new work as a result of Marcellus development, according to survey director George Love.
Geologists are also consulting an extensive water well inventory as part of this effort. Under state law, drillers of water wells are required to submit a public record after completing a new well.
In addition to locating aquifers, the survey is starting to examine the impact of hydrofracking operations on groundwater supplies, Love added. By studying geologic data from oil and gas wells, the survey produces maps and cross-section diagrams as well annual production reports for minerals.