IATE term of the week: Fracking


Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing, which is the process of drilling into the earth using high-pressure water directed at the rock to release the gas inside the pouch. Depending on the depth of the pouch, to ease the drilling process a mixture of water, sands and minerals is used. This is also at high pressure, which causes the stone to break releasing the gas which flows out to the head of the rig. The mixture of water, sand and minerals is called fracking fluid.


Hydraulic fracturing is highly controversial in many countries, mostly because in the areas where fracking is used, the seismic activity intensifies, the air is polluted and ground water can be contaminated with the substances used in the fracking fluid.

Fracking was performed as an experiment in 1947. In 2012, 2.5 million fracking jobs had been performed worldwide on oil and gas wells. Over one million of those jobs were performed in the Unites States. In Europe, according to the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies the gas pockets are in bigger depths compared to the ones in the United States and greater volumes of fracturing fluids are required to get the gas out. In the process, surface water can be contaminated through spillage and improperly built and maintained waste pits.

As you know, we try as much as possible to relate the IATE term of the week to most recent news. So fracking is the IATE term of this week because last Wednesday, after a big debate, the Scottish parliament voted to ban fracking. The Scottish Conservative Party was in favour of fracking and the Labour Party, Scottish Greens and the Liberal Democrats were against. The motion passed because the Scottish National Party members abstained.

The passing of the motion on banning fracking in Scotland was applauded by the voting parties. Scottish Labour’s environment spokesperson, Claudia Beamish, said “To meet our climate change goals and protect our environment we need to develop low carbon sources of energy, not another fossil fuel. Labour’s position is clear: no ifs, no buts, no fracking.”

Scotland follows the example of other European countries which also banned fracking on their territory, such as Bulgaria, France, Germany and Ireland. Also the Czech Republic’s government is seriously considering to ban fracking in the future.

fracking iate

[su_note note_color=”#dcea0f”][su_button url=”https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1-WrYSRAcLB1-PqjZC-FlnKVZVPI_o9wCabdMgWuas_U/viewform” style=”flat”]Contribute to IATE![/su_button] We would welcome your contribution if you know the correct term in your language and it is among the missing ones or if it needs an update. A terminologist for the respective language will revise your answer and validate it. Given the implications of the process, a delay is to be expected.

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IATE term of the week - fracking

Written by Raluca Caranfil
Communication Trainee at TermCoord
Journalist & Student at the University of Luxembourg