Wignall, Paul B. School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom.
Last reviewed:March 2021
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A distinctive, fine-grained mudrock that derives its dark color from an unusually high content of organic matter, ranging from around 2% to over 50% of the weight of the rock (typical shales contain less than 1% organic matter). Most black shales (see illustration) can split into paper-thin sheets, and these are sometimes called paper shales. See also: Shale
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