Our objective is to improve hydraulic fracturing through an understanding of the fracture evolution. We used real-time acoustic emission (AE) monitoring to study the samples subjected to varying pumping rates which are diametrically stressed at 650 psi. Velocity analysis indicates the compressional velocity variation is less than 2% throughout the sample, so they are treated as isotropic. Higher breakdown pressures were observed at rapid injection rates. Shear failures are commonly found at low to intermediate injection rates, whereas tensile fractures are observed at rapid pumping rates. Fracture initiation occurs at pressures lower than the breakdown pressure. However, the difference between the initiation and the breakdown pressure is less at slower injection rates. Secondary activity coinciding with the pump shutoff was commonly observed at intermediate and rapid injection rates. Higher pressurization rates were observed at rapid injection rates, but the relationship was not linear. The fracture width and length are observed to taper away from the borehole.