A multidisciplinary approach to shale characterization in a variety of North American gas- and liquids-rich shale plays has lead to improved understanding of the bulk physical, chemical and mechanical properties of these deposits and their geologic history. This effort is leading to successful exploitation of these enigmatic resources. Microfacies analysis of mudrocks provides a platform for upscaling from the "nano" to the regional scale, and results in comprehensive mudrock characterizations.

Microfacies analysis of mudrock types within a select stratigraphic interval in a basin leads to the recognition of mudrock lithofacies. Lithofacies identification allows for calibration of petrophysical models, documentation of basin-specific variations in mudrock composition and microfabrics, the distribution of organic-rich members of these intervals, definition of the mechanical stratigraphy for completion design, and provides the litho-stratigraphic building blocks for predictive sequence stratigraphic models.

Successful exploration and exploitation of mudrocks as resources can be advanced when the recognition of mudrock lithofacies provides a methodical means to tie together the geologic, chronostratigraphic, geochemical and petrophysical data from a diverse spectrum of physical scales and technical disciplines.

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