THE controversial process of fracking will go under the microscope in a new University of Portsmouth study.
Rock physicist Dr Philip Benson has won an £81,500 grant from the Natural Environment Research Council to study fracking’s effects.
Fracking involves creating small earthquakes to get gas and oil out of shale rock.
Dr Benson said: ‘Although the magnitude of these earthquakes is tiny in comparison to tectonic earthquakes, they do have the potential to disturb the stability of the local geological formation and cause distress to the local population.
‘It’s difficult to investigate the dangers of fracking in the real world – it’s very much trial by error.
‘This study will use rock physics to assess the risks under well-controlled laboratory conditions.
‘The research will look at how rocks deform and fracture when fluid is injected at high pressure. I hope that it will also help to inform public debate.’
PhD student Stephan Gehne will also work on the project.