1. n. 
The average reading of the spontaneous potential (SP) log opposite the shale layers in a well. Opposite shales, the SP is relatively constant and changes only slowly with depth. This is the shale baseline. The log is normally adjusted by the logging engineer to read near zero at the baseline. Sharp shifts in the baseline can sometimes be observed, for example when two permeable beds with different formation water salinities are separated by a shale that is not a perfect cationic membrane, or when the formation water salinity changes within a permeable bed.