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Departments & Programs


Earth Matters: “Fracking”—The Blue Bridge to a Green Future?

Date and Time: 
Monday, October 7, 2013 - 19:30
Cubberley Auditorium, School of Education
Event Sponsor: 
Continuing Studies, School of Earth Sciences

Fracking”—shorthand for obtaining natural gas through hydraulic fracturing—has become one of the most widely recognized and emotionally charged words in our contemporary energy lexicon. Thanks to abundant supplies, relatively low prices, and cleanburning properties compared to coal, shale gas is booming in the worldwide market. But concerns about the environmental impacts of extraction, including the potential for contamination of fresh water aquifers, are rallying communities to advocate government accountability, and resulting in some outright bans.

Stanford Geophysics Professor Mark Zoback is a leading international expert on this lightning rod issue, working closely with governments including the US, Canada, and China to address safe extraction. In this special event, Zoback will provide a real-world view of the global energy landscape and will discuss the role that shale gas can play in a clean-energy future.

Mark Zoback
Benjamin M. Page Professor of Geophysics, Stanford
Mark Zoback conducts research on reservoir geomechanics with an emphasis on shale gas, tight gas, and tight oil production. He served on the National Academy of Energy committee investigating the Deepwater Horizon accident and the secretary of energy’s committee on shale gas development and environmental protection. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Engineering and is currently Einstein Chair Professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. He received a PhD in geophysics from Stanford.

“Earth Matters” is a new quarterly public program sponsored by Stanford’s School of Earth Sciences. With the global population expected to exceed 9 billion people by 2050 and per capita consumption on the rise, the world faces an unprecedented challenge: meeting human needs for fresh water, food, and energy while protecting the planet’s ability to produce these essential resources for generations to come. This timely series will address problems, facts, and myths; explain potential solutions based on the latest research; and engage in lively discussion with the Continuing Studies community.