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Seismic testing begins in Murrysville

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 5:10 p.m.

A Colorado-based company has begun testing in Murrysville to determine where the most profitable gas pockets are located.

Tesla Exploration began seismic testing work last week and will continue daily through March 8. The company is using “thumper trucks” and small explosives to map the geological structure of about 9 square miles of Murrysville and portions of Export and Delmont.

Tesla officials submitted a permit to the municipality in late January.

The company is conducting two types of testing, using vibroseis trucks and detonating charges. The trucks will be used on state and public roads. Charges will be detonated on private properties where the company has permission to operate.

The trucks, which typically are called “thumper trucks,” use a large weight attached to its undercarriage to thump and shake the ground. Underground sound waves are recorded to determine the location of gas pockets.

On private properties, Tesla will drill a hole at least 20 feet underground and discharge small amount of explosives inside. The vibrations caused by the explosion will reflect off rock units.

Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or dkurutz@tribweb.com.

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