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It is generally accepted that the clay mineralogy of the shale formation is a primary causative factor of shale instability. This review considers a scenario of shale instability relating to illitic minerals. From the literature the thickness of the double electric layer (DEL) of the aqueous solutions associated with the charged external surfaces of clay minerals is of the same order or even thicker than the sizes of a significant proportion of the pores found in shales. In these circumstances, overlap of the DELs associated with the exposed outer surfaces of clay minerals on opposing sides of slit-like micropores...

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