Theoretical considerations of hydraulic well fracturing normally utilize a model in which the borehole is assumed to be a cylinder of infinite length. This leads to treatment of the induced stress state in two dimensions. The two-dimensional model is obviously an oversimplification. Therefore, a three-dimensional model is proposed in which the well pressure is assumed to be equivalent to a spherical pressure center. The bottom hole pressure during fracturing is determined by 4 variables; i.e., the 3 principal geological stresses and the rock strength. The response to fracturing is determined primarily by the prevailing stress state and to a lesser degree by the rock strength. The fracture condition is formulated and the model is used in the calculation of geological stresses from well data.