Microscopy Primer
Light and Color
Microscope Basics
Special Techniques
Digital Imaging
Confocal Microscopy
Live-Cell Imaging
Microscopy Museum
Virtual Microscopy
Web Resources
License Info
Image Use
Custom Photos
Site Info
Contact Us

The Galleries:

Photo Gallery
Silicon Zoo
Chip Shots
DNA Gallery
Amino Acids
Religion Collection
Cocktail Collection
Screen Savers
Win Wallpaper
Mac Wallpaper
Movie Gallery

Polarized Light Microscopy Digital Image Gallery

Ferruginous Shale

Shale is a kind of rock formed from the accumulation and hardening of fine-grained sediments and clays, often in quiet bodies of water. Economically important, shales have been utilized for a variety of purposes throughout history, especially as a source of fuels and of valuable ores.

Relatively porous and soft, shale is able to readily take up and release minerals and organic material. Thus, the composition of shales is quite various, heavily depending on the surrounding environment. Ferruginous shale is a type of shale that is rich in iron. The rock typically exhibits a reddish hue if the iron present is ferric or a green tint if the iron is ferrous. Dark gray or black shale, however, often results from the presence of significant amounts of organic matter. Some organically rich shales also contain kerogen, a chemically complex mixture of hydrocarbons that yields oil when heated. These oil shales have periodically been utilized as a fuel source, but are not yet as practically useful as crude oil deposits.

One of the most famous shale deposits in the world is the Burgess Shale, which was discovered in 1909 by Charles D. Walcott of the Smithsonian Institution. Despite the fact that Walcott recognized the presence of fossils in the deposit, his find initially received little attention. However, in the 1980s, an investigation carried out by a group of scientists from the University of Cambridge revealed the true value of the shale, which is located in a region of the Canadian Rocky Mountains called the Burgess Pass. What the research group discovered was that the Burgess Shale holds a diverse array of animal fossils, many of which derive from creatures that had never previously been identified. Indeed, even today the classification of these fossils remains difficult and is a matter of considerable debate since a number of the Canadian finds bear little resemblance to other known fauna.



Questions or comments? Send us an email.
© 1998-2022 by Michael W. Davidson and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last modification: Friday, Nov 13, 2015 at 02:19 PM
Access Count Since November 20, 2003: 17087
For more information on microscope manufacturers,
use the buttons below to navigate to their websites: