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How unconventional natural gas is brought to the surface

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A hydraulic fracturing setup. Here, in this 2012 file photo, a fracking operation near Bowden, a town in central Alberta.

Jeff McIntosh/The Globe and Mail

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Fracking uses water, sand and chemicals which are injected at high pressure into rock. The process forms tiny cracks which can release gas.

Graphic News: Source Gas Shale Research Program

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Workers assemble high-pressure pipe near Bowden.

Jeff McIntosh/The Globe and Mail

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Sand is pumped down a shaft.

Jeff McIntosh/The Globe and Mail

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Fracturing balls can also be pushed through the ground.

Jeff McIntosh/The Globe and Mail

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The major shale gas plays of North America. In red, shale gas basins. In orange, Devonian/Mississippian shale fairway.

National Energy Board of Canada

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The process has its critics. In August of 2012, Yoko Ono and her son, Sean Lennon, launch Artists Against Fracking – a coalition of artists, musicians and filmmakers against fracking in New York state.

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

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