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Big data approach to water quality applied at shale drilling sites

12/8/2016

 A computer program is diving deep into water quality data from Pennsylvania, helping scientists detect potential environmental impacts of Marcellus Shale gas drilling.

The work, supported by a new $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation, pairs a cross-disciplinary team of Penn State computer scientists and geoscientists studying methane concentrations in the state's streams, rivers and private water wells.

"We want to take a data-driven approach to assess the impact of shale gas development," said Zhenhui "Jessie" Li, assistant professor of information sciences and technology, Penn State, and co-principal investigator on the project. "We are using data-mining techniques and learning computer models to look at how methane concentration correlates with other factors, like distance from unconventional shale gas wells and geological features such as faults." More

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