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SEISMIC TESTING FOR
MARCELLUS SHALE

Seismic testing is used to help determine the geological characteristics below the surface of the ground before a drill is ever started. Marcellus Shale seismic testing usually uses 2D or 3D imaging. In conjunction with this testing, seismic companies often bore holes 20-feet deep in a set pattern where they can place 2 lbs to 4 lbs dynamite charges for later detonation while seismic equipment in the area is monitoring the shock waves.  
 

water well destroyed by seismic testing

 
 

SEISMIC CREW AHEAD

The first sign of seismic testing is usually a series of orange spray painted markings or wooden surveyor stakes along a roadway, often accompanied by small orange flags. At some in this process, wires (that look like electric extension cords) are run between the holes where charges are to be detonated.

At points where wiring needs to cross roadways the wires are duct-taped to the road surface. When activity is intense, there may even be an orange road sign indicating "Seismic Crew Ahead."

ADVICE FROM PENN STATE

There are no regulations to protect water supplies from seismic testing. If 3D seismic testing with small explosives is going to occur on your property, make sure to stipulate that each shot hole is immediately filled to prevent groundwater contamination by surface water. If seismic testing is to be done close to your water supply, you may want to stipulate that water quantity conditions be documented in your well or spring by a professional water well contractor or hydrogeologist before allowing the seismic exploration.

Source:
College of Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension
Water Facts #28     Rev. March 2, 2010

While some companies use tracked vehicles resembling 'snow cats' like you see grooming ski slopes, other seismic companies use "thumper trucks" for the testing. These vibroseis trucks usually travel in groups of three trucks that are spaced 10 feet apart.

Seismic testing trucks

All three (or four) trucks will stop at a set location, lower a large plate onto the highway that puts most of the weight of the truck on the surface, and then set off a series of vibrations into the ground. After a few minutes they move forward 60 to 80 feet and repeat the process. Below are photos of seismic testing activities around Marcellus Shale.
 

PENNSYLVANIA BULLETIN - Jan. 7, 2012

ACTIONS ON BLASTING
ACTIVITY APPLICATIONS
 

Actions on applications under the Explosives Acts of 1937 and 1957 and 25 Pa. Code 211.124. Blasting activity performed as part of a coal or noncoal mining activity will be regulated by the mining permit for that coal or noncoal mining activity.

Blasting Permits Actions
Greensburg District Mining Office: Armbrust Professional Center, 8205 Route 819, Greensburg, PA 15601, 724-925-5500

63114009. Dawson Geophysical (508 W. Wall Street, Suite 800, Midland TX 79701). Blasting activity permit for seismic exploration activity to the Hopewell 3D, located in Robinson, etc. Townships, Washington County and North Fayette Township, Allegheny County. The duration of blasting is expected to last eight months. Blasting permit issued: December 16, 2011.

26114008. Appalachian Geophysical Services, LLC (2659 State Route 60, P. O. Box 426, Killbuck, OH 44637). Blasting activity permit for seismic exploration activity to the M-MAWC-1 and M-MAWC-2R located in Springfield Township, Fayette County. The duration of blasting is expected to last one year. Blasting permit issued: December 16, 2011.

  


PHOTOS OF SEISMIC TESTING ACTIVITIES
AROUND THE MARCELLUS SHALE PLAY
 

Seismic Helicopter
Helicopter used to move seismic equipment
 
 
Sign warning of SEISMIC CREW AHEAD
Caution sign warning of
'Seismic Crew Ahead'
 
 
seismic utility truck
Seismic Utility Truck
 
 
Seismic testing wires
Wires running between equipment and dynamite
charges resemble extension cords
 
 
seismic vibration trucks
Vibration trucks working in a group of four
 
 
Seismic wires duct-taped to an asphalt road
Duct tape is used to secure seismic testing
wires to a country road
 
 
seismic pad
Close-up of pad that is lowered onto roadway to lift
the truck and create deep vibration into the ground
 
 
Small orange flag and wooden survey stake with
markings are used in conjunction with seismic testing
 
 
Seismic trucks on highway
Trio of seismic trucks working
along a Pennsylvania highway
 
 
Square plate in center of truck is hydraulically lowered
onto road surface and linked to vibrosis equipment
 
 
Seismic testing on a highway
Thumper trucks continue their hopscotch moves
along this highway in Pennsylvania
(video of thumper trucks in action)
 
 
Men Working Cable Crossing
Signs used by seismic crews around Jefferson Hills and
Pleasant Hills, Pa did not mention seismic testing
Men Working - Cable Crossing
 
 
Seismic devices
December 5, 2011
Seismic equipment along a roadside in Buffalo, Pa
 
 
Warning label on seismic device
 
 
Truck's weight is resting on lowered pad
while vibrations are being generated
 
 
Seismic electronics box
Antenna on top of radio device
 
 
Seismic testing ground sensor
Ground sensor to monitor seismic vibrations
 
 
Geokinetics seismic testing truck
Seismic testing truck moving to next location
 
 
Seismic testing marker
Wood stake with survey markings and yellow tag
 
 
Truck with Colorado license plate
carrying seismic equipment
 
 
Seismic trucks
'Thumper Trucks' parked for the night on the
Chappel Unit well pad near Buffalo, Pa
 
 

 
 
  

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