Definition of shale in US English:

shale

noun

  • Soft, finely stratified sedimentary rock that formed from consolidated mud or clay and can be split easily into fragile slabs.

    • ‘Natural red chalk is obtained from the red ochre variety of haematite, natural grey chalk from brick clay, natural white chalk from the chalk variety of calcite or soapstone, and natural black chalk from carbonaceous shale.’
    • ‘Glaciers have deposited shale, slate, schist, and limestone throughout the region.’
    • ‘As we drift downstream, the cliffs soar upward in a layered tapestry of pastels: pinkish limestone, buff-colored sandstone, and deep-red shale.’
    • ‘The amount of radiation is so small that it is much less than natural radiation due to radon gas or that of radioactive isotopes that occur in clay, shale and brick.’
    • ‘Profits from a trade of operating a quarry (selling stone, shale etc) should not be subsumed into general farming profits.’
    • ‘Towering over the town was Turtle Mountain, a massive hulk of limestone and shale layered with veins of coal in its core.’
    • ‘Bring shoes, at the very least; getting here means a 15-minute hike on a trail that gradually turns from shale to softer sand.’
    • ‘Despite their name, quarry tiles are made, not quailed, from a mixture of natural ingredients including clay and shale.’
    • ‘A second scenario is that quarrying operations exposed easily weathered fossiliferous shales, mudstones, or fine-grained sandstones interbedded with limestones.’
    • ‘All but one of the Scottish disc bead necklaces so far analysed have been made using cannel coal or shale for the beads.’
    • ‘This sprawling site bears the marks of geological metamorphosis, when sediments have compacted into layers of shale and now preserve the delicate details of these organisms as fossils.’
    • ‘Hydrogen sulfide often is present in wells drilled in shale or sandstone, or near coal or peat deposits or oil fields.’
    • ‘Then, with a mattock and shovel, we dug into the side of the hill to make a spot for a level platform, which needed to be heavily reinforced because most of the hillside consisted of loose rock and shale.’
    • ‘Examination of interbedded limestones and shales on the Great Plains improved understanding of sedimentation.’
    • ‘Comprised of selected blends of clay and shale, paving brick is molded and pressed into shape either by machine or by hand.’
    • ‘The quarry was a 40 foot rock face of coarsely granular limestone whose layers are interbedded with shale.’
    • ‘His outer body is an amalgam of granite and shale.’
    • ‘A knot of walkers wanders up the trail to Weeping Rock, where springs emerge from the base of cliffs at the contact point between porous Navajo sandstone and impermeable Kayenta shale.’
    • ‘The soils are developed on weathered materials derived from sandstone, shale, and limestone.’
    • ‘The harder materials like granite and hard shale usually will shatter in places you do not want while the softer limestone and sandstone are more controlled when using a hammer and chisel.’

Origin

Mid 18th century: probably from German Schale; related to English dialect shale ‘dish’ (see scale).

Pronunciation

shale

/ʃeɪl//SHāl/