Embargo Watch

Keeping an eye on how scientific information embargoes affect news coverage

Embargo break by Dallas Morning News on fracking study is PNAS’s 8th this year

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pnas juneThe Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) is having a rough time of it in 2014 embargo-wise.

For the eighth time this year, the journal had to lift the embargo early on a study because of a break. PNAS tells us this message to reporters resulted from a Dallas Morning News story today:

Due to an embargo break, PNAS is lifting the embargo early on the following paper. All other articles are under the scheduled embargo:

Tracing groundwater contamination above shale gas fields

A study of noble gas isotopes in groundwater above the Marcellus and Barnett Shale formations finds that fugitive shale gas leaking into groundwater originates from faulty well casing and cement construction rather than from horizontal drilling or hydraulic fracturing deep underground. Hydraulic fracturing in shale gas formations, including the Marcellus Shale of Pennsylvania and the Barnett Shale of Texas, has raised concerns that drilling and fracturing operations could open pathways for contaminants to rise from deep shale layers into shallow aquifers. Thomas Darrah and colleagues measured ratios of stable isotopes in methane and the noble gases helium, neon, and argon in drinking-water wells overlying the Marcellus and Barnett formations. The isotope ratios serve as tracers to identify the sources and pathways of hydrocarbon contamination in groundwater. The authors identified eight clusters of methane contamination in drinking-water wells across the two study areas. Noble-gas isotope results suggest that the contamination clusters are attributable to failure in the integrity of gas well construction and not the result of hydraulic fracturing or horizontal drilling opening conduits between shale gas formations and drinking-water aquifers, according to the authors.

Here’s the Dallas Morning News story, which went live at midnight, presumably U.S. Central Time, which is more than a dozen hours before the embargo was scheduled to lift.

The last embargo break of a PNAS paper was earlier this month.



Written by Ivan Oransky

September 15, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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