Question Set

  • Paul E. Potter
  • J. Barry Maynard
  • Wayne A. Pryor


The methodology of shales—what to observe and measure and what does it mean—is, as we have seen, still very fragmentary and incomplete. Below is a series of questions that we have developed with the hope of advancing our understanding of shales (Table 2.1). These questions are designed to provide an inventory of essential information on which an interpretation can be based. Unlike the question set of a zoologic key, which is directed to identification, our question set is designed for understanding. Our list of questions is modeled after one for sands and sandstones (Sedimentation Seminar 1978), although we were initially stimulated by a series of questions asked by Wilson (1975) in his excellent book, Carbonate Facies in Geologic History (pp. 60–75). Earlier Folk (1968, pp. 133–138) and Ager (1963, pp. 317–318) also developed question sets. Ager, Folk, and Wilson are, to our knowledge, the first to explicitly ask questions to develop an insight into sediments; and, from a slightly different viewpoint, Spencer’s (1974, pp. 788–802) structural and tectonic inventory of the world’s Mesozoic and Cenozic fold belts is also very close to the theme of our question set. Our teaching experience shows that asking questions is very beneficial largely because good questions are intellectually stimulating to students young and old.


Clay Mineral Depositional Environment Elsevier Scientific Publ Trace Fossil Depositional Sequence 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul E. Potter
    • 1
  • J. Barry Maynard
    • 1
  • Wayne A. Pryor
    • 1
  1. 1.H.N. Fisk Laboratory of Sedimentology, Department of GeologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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