Australian river bursts into flames near gas fracking site

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A river in Australia bubbling with methane gas has been filmed bursting into flames with a spark from a kitchen lighter.

Video of the Condamine River set ablaze was posted online by Jeremy Buckingham, a Greens member of the South Wales Parliament, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

In a Facebook post on April 22, Buckingham blamed nearby fracking operations for the leak of methane into the river. There are several coal seam gas fracking mines in the area, and leaks were first reported in 2012, according to the ABC.

Fracking miners drill a pipeline into the ground, which then curves horizontally and can be several miles long. Fracking fluid, which is made up of water, sand and toxic chemicals, is then pumped into the pipeline at high pressure.

The pressure forces cracks to form in rocks along the pipeline, which the sand holds open. Natural gas then flows back up through the pipeline towards the fracking well.

Critics, such as Buckingham, say high pressure from fracking causes more cracks to form in rock. Methane gas escapes from these cracks and moves towards the earth’s surface, creating flammable water and releasing toxic fumes.

The flames on the Condamine River continued to burn for more than a hour, Buckingham said, according to the ABC.

Writing on Facebook, Buckingham said “fugitive emissions could be a major contributor to climate change and make gas as dirty as burning coal.”

Buckingham also called for a ban on fracking.

“Fracking must be banned. Everywhere. No ifs, no buts, no exceptions. Ban it,” he wrote on Facebook.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Pipeline of fracking well drilled into the ground
2. Fracking fluid pumped into the pipeline
3. Hydraulic fracturing occurs in rocks
4. Natural gas moves up the pipeline towards the earth’s surface
5. High pressure creates more fractures underground
6. Methane gas escapes out of cracks and moves towards the earth’s surface

VOICEOVER (in English):

“Fracking miners drill a pipeline into the ground, which then curves horizontally and can be several miles long.”

“Fracking fluid, which is made up of water, sand and toxic chemicals, is then pumped into the pipeline at high pressure.”

“The pressure forces cracks to form in rocks along the pipeline, which the sand holds open.”

“Natural gas then flows back up through the pipeline towards the fracking well.”

“Critics say high pressure from fracking causes more cracks to form in rock.”

“Methane gas escapes from these cracks and moves towards the earth’s surface, creating flammable water and releasing toxic fumes.”

SOURCES: ABC, Facebook, Storyful
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-23/condamine-river-bubbling-methane-gas-set-alight-greens-mp/7352578
https://www.facebook.com/jeremybuckingham/videos/1170269019658951/
http://newswire.storyful.com/storylines/*/stories/126665?q=fracking