Definition of 'Shale'

A type of sedimentary rock found in the earth's crust composed chiefly of a combination of silt and clay. A great deal of the earth's usable fossil fuels are found in shale formations. There are many different types of shale, such as oil shale and bituminous shale, which are important sources of various grades of crude oil.

Investopedia explains 'Shale'

For many years, the oil that was trapped in shale formations could not be extracted profitably. But modern technology now permits this type of extraction on a large scale, which has opened up huge deposits of previously unreachable reserves for oil companies. As oil prices rise, it can become cost effective for companies to retreive hydrocarbons from oil shale. Shale also has commercial value in the ceramics industry.

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