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Earth Treasures: Slate Rocks

By Chisom Ibemere

Slate is a very hard metamorphic rock that has been used by humans for thousands of years. Its originated in Egypt and Greece in the ancient civilizations.

It is used as a building material and for writing surfaces which dated back to Roman times.

The word “slate” itself comes from the Old French word “esclate” meaning a thin piece or splinter.

Slate is found in various locations of the world, including North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The specific geological conditions required for slate formation include fine-grained sedimentary rocks subjected to high heat and pressure over time.

The resulting rock is characterised by its ability to split into thin, flat layers, making it suitable for various applications.

Slate has numerous practical and decorative applications. It has a smooth, flat surface which makes it ideal for roofing tiles, as well as in flooring, countertops, and tableware.

Slate’s durability and resistance to weathering and staining make it a popular choice for outdoor applications, such as walkways and garden paths.

Additionally, slate is commonly used as a writing surface, including chalkboards and slate tablets.

Slate is made up of mica, chlorite, quartz, and other minerals. It has a fine-grained texture with range of different colors such as gray and black to green, red, and purple, depending on its mineral composition.

It’s outstanding property is its ability to be easily split into thin, flat sheets, known as “cleavage.” This property makes it ideal for roofing and other applications that require thin and uniform pieces.

The value of slate varies which depends on factors such as quality, location, and demand. The high-quality roofing slates, are valued for their durability, weather resistance, and aesthetic appeal.

The demand for slate has remained steady due to its diverse range of applications in construction and design. While the global market for slate is not as extensive as other natural stones, its value in the construction and design industries remains significant.


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