Frac sand

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Frac sand refers to one type of proppant used by fracking companies in frack fluid. Also known as industrial sand, frac sand is very strong because it contains high levels of silicon dioxide (SiO2). Frac sand is also known as “silica” or “quartz” and is also used in glassmaking. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that there are large quantities of this sand available and that mining frac sand has little environmental impact.[1] A single fracked well can require up to 10,000 tons of frac sand.[2]

Types of frac sand

Mounds of frac sand in Wisconsin.

Brady Brown Sand

Also known as Hickory sand, this sand comes from the Hickory Sandstone Formation. Because this sand does not contain as much silicon dioxide (SiO2) as Ottawa White sand, it isn’t as strong and can only be used to depths of 8,000 feet.[3]

Ottawa White

Ottawa White sand is a type of frac sand that is highly valued for its natural strength and roundness. Also known as “Northern White,” this sand is composed of 99 percent quartz and is found in Minnesota and Wisconsin.[4] Strong sand is important to the fracking process because any sand used must be able to withstand high pressure without breaking. The rounder the sand is, the better, because it allows oil and gas to flow through the fissures in the rock without damaging equipment.[5]

See also