A cartoon about fracking and the protests against fracking in the UK in 2011
Fracking is short for hydraulic fracturing – a process in which water and sand are pumped at high pressure into rock strata, where the pressure fractures the rock, allowing the extraction of natural gas.
The gas that is extracted by fracking is gas that is otherwise trapped in the rock and is difficult to extract. The rock is often shale – therefore the gas trapped in it is known as shale gas.
The franking process is sometimes blamed for contamination of the water supply and for minor earthquakes in the vicinity of franking work.
The cartoon about fracking draws attention to the unfortunate sound of the word franking, which is not only harsh and sounds like the process that it represents (onomatopoeia), but it also sounds like an expletive and can easily be appropriated by its critics (such as in banners proclaiming “Stop this fracking business”). The word fracking becomes an F word.
Cartoon drawn: 2011