Anthony Ingraffea on Hydraulic Fracturing’s Myths and Realities

Renowned fracking expert Anthony Ingraffea discussed Unconventional Development of Oil/Gas from Shale Formations in this Global Energies Distinguished Lecture

In this talk, Prof. Ingraffea (Engineering, Cornell) explored some myths and realities concerning large-scale development of the unconventional natural gas/oil resource in shale deposits. On a local scale, these concern geological aspects of the plays, and the resulting development and use of directional drilling, high-volume, slickwater, hydraulic fracturing, multi-well patterned-cluster pad arrangements, and the impacts of these technologies on waste production and disposal, and possible contamination of water supplies. On a global scale, the talk also addressed the cumulative impact of unconventional gas development on greenhouse gas loading of the atmosphere. Finally, Prof. Ingraffea discussed green alternatives to shale gas.

Albert S. Colman, assistant professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences, introduced Dr. Ingraffea.

Anthony Ingraffea is the Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering and Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow at Cornell University where he has been since 1977. He holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Notre Dame, an M.S. in Civil Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Colorado. Dr. Ingraffea’s research concentrates on computer simulation and physical testing of complex fracturing processes. He has authored with his students and research associates over 250 papers in these areas, and is Director of the Cornell Fracture Group (

His accolades are many: Since 1977, he has been a principal or co-principal investigator on over $35M in R&D projects from the NSF, EXXON, NASA Langley, Nichols Research, NASA Glenn, AFOSR, FAA, Kodak, U. S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, U.S. Dept. of Transportation, IBM, Schlumberger, Gas Technology Institute, Sandia National Laboratories, the Association of Iron and Steel Engineers, General Dynamics, Boeing, Caterpillar Tractor, DARPA, and Northrop Grumman.  Professor Ingraffea was a member of the first group of Presidential Young Investigators named by the National Science Foundation in 1984. For his research achievements in hydraulic fracturing he has won the International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics “1994 Significant Paper Award”, and he has twice won the National Research Council/U.S. National Committee for Rock Mechanics Award for Research in Rock Mechanics (1978, 1991). He became a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1991. In 2006, he won ASTM’s George Irwin Medal for outstanding research in fracture mechanics, and in 2009 was named a Fellow of the International Congress on Fracture.  TIME Magazine named him one of its “People Who Mattered” in 2011, and he became the first president of Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy, Inc. ( in that same year.

This event was presented by the Center for International Studies,  the Program on the Global Environment, and the Environment, Agriculture and Food Working Group as part of “Global Energies: A Public Inquiry into the Ecology, Science and Politics of Energy in the 21st Century.”

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