Too Many Magazines, Hydrofracking and an Eminent Alumnus

Keep up the good work. You all do a great job on the magazine. I get too many magazines at home and end up chucking most of them, but I always read Mines cover to cover.
Will Culp '99

Jason Deardorff's comments suggest that he buys the documentaries and local news reports on the ills of hydrofracking. Fracking is an old technique, begun several decades before he was born. Basically, it is pumping fluids and proppants down a cased hole and into adjacent selected zones to enhance permeability. Is he concerned about the disposal of flow-back waters contaminating surface water? That could happen. The risk of contaminating fresh groundwater, however, is low. It is hard to pump fracturing fluids through two strings of casing into fresh water zones, which only extend to depths of a few hundred feet in most areas - most hydrofracking takes place at a depth of several thousand feet. For these reasons, I don't think we need the EPA regulating hydrofracking under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The process is already policed by state agencies. Have I missed something here?
Jim Classen '57

I have been reading with interest your latest publication regarding ongoing research at the Colorado School of Mines, and I note in the article about the Geology Museum that you will shortly have a moon rock in your collections. It may be of interest to you to know that the first moon rocks were examined for signs of organic material by a NASA group headed by Keith A. Kvenvolden '52, who earned a PhD from Stanford and was awarded a Distinguished Achievement Medal by Mines in 2002. Further on in the publication there is an article about methane hydrates. The same Kvenvolden was at one time the world's leading scientist on methane hydrates when working for the USGS prior to his retirement. How easily we forget the achievements of those who came before. He was also the tuba (sousaphone) player in the ragtag Mines marching band (1948-52). Oompah, oompah.
Weldon G. Frost '52

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