What could sound duller, more ordinary, than rocks made from mud? It seems like a scientist looking for a big problem would pick something sexier. But mud is the default product of continental erosion. The mountains turn into mudall material finer than sandand while lime and silica and carbon have been added to the mix since Archean times, mud has been around since the beginning. Nothing on Earth's surface is more permanent that mud. So it seems like if you paid careful enough attention to mudrocks, you could open new windows onto the whole long corridor of geologic history.
That's the challenge for young scientists. For the rest of us, a working knowledge of mudrock terminology will help us follow along. My new article "About Mudrocks" provides that background for the rest of us.