Summary

Much public discourse has taken place regarding hydraulic-fracture growth and whether fractures could potentially grow up to the surface and create communication pathways for frac fluids or produced hydrocarbons to pollute groundwater supplies. Real fracture-growth data mapped during thousands of fracturing treatments are presented along with the reported aquifer depths in the vicinity of the fractured wells. These data are supplemented with an in-depth discussion of fracture-growth limiting mechanisms augmented by mineback tests and other studies performed to visually examine hydraulic fractures. These height-growth limiting mechanisms, which are supported by the mapping data, provide insight into why hydraulic fractures are longer laterally and more constrained vertically. This information can be used to improve models, optimize fracturing, and provide definitive data for engineers, regulators, and interest groups.

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