Definition of Burgess Shale in English:

Burgess Shale

proper noun

  • A bed of shale exposed in the Rocky Mountains in British Columbia, Canada. The bed, dated to the Cambrian period (about 530 million years ago), is rich in well-preserved fossils of early marine invertebrates, many of which represent evolutionary lineages unknown in later times.

    • ‘Pictured above is Canadia, from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale of British Columbia.’
    • ‘The best-known of these sites is the legendary Burgess Shale in the British Columbian Rocky Mountains.’
    • ‘Patrick Orr, now at the National University of Ireland in Galway, and I decided to analyse some Burgess Shale fossils by mapping the distribution of elements using an electron microprobe.’


Named after the Burgess Pass, British Columbia, where the shale crops out.


Burgess Shale

/ˈbərjis ˌSHāl/