Just the Facts – Natural Gas

In light of the excitement on campus yesterday, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to explore natural gas.

  •  Natural gas is found in 33 states. The dark blue states on this map show you where large amounts of natural gas are extracted. In the medium blue states, moderate amounts of natural gas are extracted. And in the light blue states, just a little natural gas is extracted. Natural gas is not extracted at all in the states that are white.


  • Natural gas, a fossil fuel, is more environmentally friendly than other fossil fuels (besides carbon dioxide and water vapor) it does not release any other harmful substance, into the atmosphere.
  • Existence of natural gas was known to people of ancient Greece, India, and Persia, in the form of burning springs. These springs were created when fountains of natural gas, seeping out from cracks in the ground, were ignited due to lightning.
  • Natural gas was used for the first time in the US in 1816, to light street lights in Baltimore.
  • Natural gas is third most widely used fuel in the US, after petroleum and coal.
  • Natural gas is naturally colorless, odorless, lighter than air and non-toxic.
  • Despite its various uses one of the major disadvantages of natural gas is that it is highly combustible, due to which explosions are very likely.
  • By itself, methane is odorless, colorless and tasteless.  As a safety measure, natural gas companies add a chemical odorant called mercaptan (it smells like rotten eggs) so escaping gas can be detected.

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