Researchers are studying a rock formation found across much of the Great Plains that could someday be used for energy production or underground liquid or gas storage.
The South Dakota Legislature approved $464,000 for the School of Mines & Technology to drill into and study what's known as Pierre Shale.
Besides South Dakota, it extends across parts of North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas.
The focus of the research is to learn more about how it would respond under certain uses, called "creep," or how it deforms over time.
The researchers say the initial research could also help determine if it would be possible to build what would be the first underground shale research laboratory in the U.S.