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Dark, commonly black, fissile shales represent the basinal facies of the Catskill Delta complex. This dark-shale facies originated in the Appalachian Basin during the Emsian (late Early Devonian) and subsequently spread beyond the Appalachian Basin thus suggesting the importance of regional controls such as paleogeography, paleoclimate, and tectonic regime.

The Catskill delta debouched into a subsiding peripheral basin on the eastern margin of a nearly enclosed, equatorial sea. Enclosure prevented deep-water incursions from other water bodies and enhanced the production and concentration of organic matter. Existence in a warm, rainy equatorial belt increased organic productivity and probably formed a nearly...

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