North Huntingdon approves additional seismic testing
North Huntingdon commissioners last week approved a second application to allow seismic testing in the township to determine areas that might contain natural gas in Marcellus shale.
Cougar Land Services plans to conduct three-dimensional underground seismic testing on 322 acres near the soccer field complex off of Turner Valley Road, according Michael Turley, the township's assistant manager.
“The area where they want to do the testing is at the fringe of a many-square-mile area to the south and west of the township,” Turley said.
Seismic testing typically involves drilling a series of several-inch-wide “shot holes” about 20 to 30 feet into the ground in which small, explosive charges are lowered and ignited. The vibrations from the charges travels through the earth and “echoes back” when they encounter rock formations that could contain deposits of natural gas, Turley said. Engineers use the sound waves to make a geological map.
Representatives of Cougar, which is based in Sugar Land, Texas, also informed the township that they might use trucks with Vibroseis equipment, Turley said.
“The charges need to be placed a certain distance apart for accurate testing,” Turley said. “But they are not permitted within 75 feet of a home, so that's where they would use the Vibroseis trucks.”
The “thumper” trucks are equipped with a plate that is lowered to the ground to emit vibrations that mimic the vibrations emitted by an explosive, said Turley, adding that Vibroseis equipment also can be used to test the area below a paved road without damaging the surface.
Turley, who has attended seminars at which the device was demonstrated, said the trucks will have minimal impact on the area.
“The vibration is fairly minor and dissipates within about 75 feet. It's about the same as a garbage truck driving by,” he said.
In February, commissioners approved the first round of seismic testing in the township, which was performed by McDonald Land Services of Washington, Okla.
Testing, which was completed in May, was conducted in Braddock's Trail and Turner Valley parks using the explosive charges.
Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2360, or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.