Realizing Sorby’s (1908) vision – that we must learn the language of mudrocks to understand their importance – is approaching a century of erratic progress. Rapid advances were made as X-ray diffraction and later electron microscope techniques revealed the cryptic mineralogy and microtextures of these rocks. In contrast, regional understanding of shale geology made slower progress, usually on the back of exploration for hydrocarbons, and always lagged behind comparable knowledge of less common lithologies such as sandstones and limestones. So it is a pleasure to report that Shales and Mudstones closes the gap with a giant step towards fulfilling Sorby’s...

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