shale - teaching hand specimen of a Jurassic tan limey shale from the Carmel Formation of Utah
This shale is limey, found interbedded with limestones in the Jurassic Carmel Formation near Mount Carmel Junction, Utah. It effervesces strongly with dilute hydrochloric acid. Many California shales are siliceous and lack the effervescence, so this makes a good comparison with the others we offer.
Students should know the basic sedimentary rocks in order of increasing grain size, from mudstone and shale, siltstone, sandstone to conglomerate and coquina. Shales differ from mudstones in that they are more compressed, form flat plates, and are less likely to disappear in a poof of dust when dropped by a student. This shale is fairly hard and should stand up to student examinations.
Some shales closely resemble slate, metamorphosed from shale. To distinguish a shale from a slate, the field test is to lick it. The shale will smell muddy. The slate won't. Most specimens of this shale passes the lick-and-sniff test, though it's unlikely a student will identify this as slate.
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