Oneonta students researching the close to home issue of hydro fracking


ONEONTA, N.Y. (WKTV) - With a regional debate at their doorstep, students at SUNY Oneonta are taking advantage of hands on research.

Five students recently spent time studying the Marcellus Shale, determining whether or not there would be adverse affects if the shale was drilled into.

Dr. Devin Castendyke, Assistant Professor of Earth Science at SUNY Oneonta, said Thursday that when he started working at the school, six years ago, the words "hydro-fracking" and "shale" were almost non-existent.

Today, those words are common language, Castendyke said.

"Almost every single one of my classes, we have some component of the class that looks at the water chemistry coming out, or possibly related to the Marcellus Shale," said Castendyke. "They (the students) are just here at the right time."

Five students, between the Geology and Earth Science class, recently spent time collecting parts of the Marcellus Shale to study. Some examined the physical part of the shale, others studied the water underneath.

One student said the work was similar to the type of research federal officials are currently doing to see if drilling can occur.

"So, we are just kind of laying the groundwork and then later, if drilling does occur, then people can go back and find out if this type of hydro-fracking caused a change in concentrations in different ground water." said Fiona Lowry, a Junior at SUNY Oneonta.

"It turned out to be really beneficial that we are so close to a place like Cherry Valley where the shale actually comes to the surface," said Joseph Krikorian, a Senior Geology Major. "We can go and sample it and collect samples for our research."

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