Hydraulic fracturing or "fracturing" is the process of extracting natural gas from depths of thousands of feet below the earth surface. Hydraulic fracturing has had a long history; "the first recorded use of the Hydraulic Fracturing was in the 1860s when the first brave soul dropped an explosive down a well shaft with gun power and Nitroglycerin, which was extremely dangerous" (ASME 2012). "This led Lt. Col. Edward A. Roberts, a civil war veteran, to engineer a nitroglycerin exploding torpedo in 1865–1866. This torpedo shell was packed with 15 to 20 pounds of gunpowder and topped off with an explosive Nitroglycerin cap" (ASME 2012). The process allowed for the successful "shooting" of the well, which would break up the rocks and allow for smoother flow of oil.

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