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The Devonian black shales of central New York are described. The current theories of black shale deposition are briefly reviewed, and their application to the black shales of central New York is discussed. The conclusion is reached that the type of decomposition rather than the type of organic material determines the bituminous content of these shales and that this particular type of decay existed only where the water was truly saline and toxic conditions were present. Comparatively shallow water seems to have been the environment of deposition.
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