Fracking is media term applied to a process known as Hydraulic Fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing was first used in the United States in 1947. Fracking (or hydraulic fracturing) is a process that creates fractures in rocks to force natural gas, water, and oil reserves trapped 5,000 to 20,000 feet below the earth up to the surface. Hydraulic fractures may occur naturally, via volcanic dikes, sills, ice; or they can be man-made by injecting a proppant (like crains of sand, ceramic, or other particulates) or fracturing fluid, into a borehole deep underground in formation rock, to increase pressure enough to fracture the formation rock. Fracking is a process used to harvest and extract water, natural gas, and oil reserves in targeted formations deep within the earth. The fracture is then "propped" by sand higher in permeability than the surrrounding rock, and formation fluids are then pumped to the surface. Fracking is also often used to dispose toxic waste into underground formations.
Fracking or haydraulic fracturing is highly controversial due to significant environmental, safety, and health risks. The biggest risks of fracking involve: the potential contamination of groundwater aquifers with fracturing chemicals or waste fluids, the migration of gasses and fracturing chemicals, the mishandling of waste, increased risk of cancers and other illnesses from contaminated aquifers and air pollution near drilling sites, and decreased air quality. State regulations and technological advances are presently attempting to resolve the potential costs of environmental clean up processes, lost of land value near fracking sites, and "undetermined" human and animal health concerns.