The Department of Natural Resources says a new map shows the distribution of Marcellus shale deposits in western Maryland.
The shale deposits are being eyed as a source of natural gas. However, environmentalists are concerned that new hydraulic fracturing techniques used to free the gas from shale deposits could harm water quality. The department says the map will help balance the impact of human activity and the preservation of natural resources.
DNR says the map includes cross sections of geologic features under the surface, including their proximity to groundwater.
A state task force is studying the potential impact of natural gas drilling and some lawmakers in Annapolis are pushing for a drilling moratorium until a comprehensive study is completed.