The disclosure describes a technique for uniform heating of relatively large blocks of hydrocarbonaceous formations in situ using radio frequency (RF) electrical energy that is substantially confined to the volume to be heated and effects of dielectric heating of the formations. An important aspect of the disclosure relates to the fact that certain hydrocarbonaceous earth formations, for example raw unheated oil shale, exhibit dielectric absorption characteristics in the radio frequency range. In accordance with the system of the invention, a plurality of conductors are inserted in the formations and bound a particular volume of the formations. The phrase "bounding a particular volume" is intended to mean that the volume is enclosed on at least two sides thereof. Electrical excitation is provided for establishing alternating electric fields in the volume. The frequency of the excitation is selected as a function of the dimensions of the volume so as to establish a substantially non-radiating electric field which is substantially confined in the volume. In this manner, volumetric dielectric heating of the formations will occur to effect approximately uniform controlled heating of the volume.