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slate,

fine-grained rockrock,
aggregation of solid matter composed of one or more of the minerals forming the earth's crust. The scientific study of rocks is called petrology. Rocks are commonly divided, according to their origin, into three major classes—igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic.
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 formed when sedimentary rocks such as shaleshale,
sedimentary rock formed by the consolidation of mud or clay, having the property of splitting into thin layers parallel to its bedding planes. Shale tends to be fissile, i.e., it tends to split along planar surfaces between the layers of stratified rock.
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 are metamorphosed by great pressure. Slate splits into perfectly cleaved, broad thin layers; this characteristically regular and planar cleavage is called slaty cleavage. In the formation of slate, pressure causes the flaky minerals within the sedimentary rock, such as mica, clay, and chlorite, to be reoriented; the flat faces of the minerals lie at right angles to the source of the pressure, and the planes of easy cleavage are also at right angles to the source of the pressure. The rock is not necessarily compressed in the same direction as the sedimentary layers were originally laid down, and because the compression crumples and deforms the original sedimentary layers, the planes of slaty cleavage usually cut through the old bedding planes. Slate is intermediate in hardness between mica schistsschist
, metamorphic rock having a foliated, or plated, structure called schistosity in which the component flaky minerals are visible to the naked eye. Schists are distinguished from the other foliated rocks, slates and gneisses, by the size of their mineral crystals; these are
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 and shale; the better grades are used for roofing. Its characteristic color is gray-blue. Slate is mined in Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Lake Superior, and the Rocky Mts.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

slate

A hard, brittle metamorphic rock characterized by good cleavage along parallel planes; used as cut stone in thin sheets for flooring, roofing, and panels, and in granular form as surfacing on composition roofing.
See also: Stone
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Slate

 

a schistous, sedimentary rock used for roofing. It consists of argillaceous minerals (for the most part, various hydromicas and chlorite) whose particles are usually arranged in strictly parallel lines. This structure gives slate a sharply defined schistosity, that is, the capacity for cleavage into thin lamina. Slate does not fall apart in water and has the characteristics of geosynclinal sediments. It is formed by the compaction of clays and their partial recrystallization under pressure at considerable depths as well as by the effect of dynamic metamorphism. When it undergoes further change, it becomes a phyllte or a chlorite slate.

The largest known deposits of slate in the USSR are located in the Caucasus and the Urals. Slate is used as roofing material; in the production of low-voltage switchboards, knife switches, and other apparatus in the electrical industry; and in the production of certain structural components (panels for the interior facing of rooms). Slate is also used in a crushed, roasted, and aerated form as filler for certain types of concrete, large wall blocks, and for cladding ruberoid(roof-sheeting material).

V. P. PETROV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

slate

[slāt]
(petrology)
A group name for various very-fine-grained rocks derived from mudstone, siltstone, and other clayey sediment as a result of low-degree regional metamorphism; characterized by perfect fissility or slaty cleavage which is a regular or perfect planar schistosity.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

slate

A hard, brittle metamorphic rock consisting mainly of clay minerals, characterized by good cleavage along parallel planes; used extensively as dimension stone in thin sheets for flooring, roofing, panels (both decorative and electrical), and chalkboard, and in granular form as surfacing on composition roofing.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

slate

1. 
a. a compact fine-grained metamorphic rock formed by the effects of heat and pressure on shale. It can be split into thin layers along natural cleavage planes and is used as a roofing and paving material
b. (as modifier): a slate tile
2. a dark grey colour, often with a purplish or bluish tinge
3. Chiefly US and Canadian a list of candidates in an election
4. Films
a. the reference information written on a clapperboard
b. Informal the clapperboard itself
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005

slate

Another name for a tablet. In 2010, HP introduced tablets under the Slate brand. See Tablet PC and tablet.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Functional analysis of the slaty gene product (TRP2) as dopachrome tautomerase and the effect of a point mutation on its catalytic function.
"Slaty Sike is a great example of the importance of river management features to both water quality improvements and natural flood risk management.
Slaty said that that the new branch was not necessarily part of the bank's expansion plan, but it was decided to launch the branch as the bank saw an opportunity in the community.
Sky floors of heavy cloud in any shape they please, blown by electric currents at the horizon from wells of brick see the air up there spreading in slaty shadow cutting across the park, catching a glimpse of blue opening imaginary lungs so constantly as we see a mountain in the distance we doubtless follow its lines surprised when at sunset red lights play over a faded web (a cohesive social force--skyward poetry) IV.
Slaty Skimmers (Libellula incesta) are large (~6 cm), dark, eastern species with clear wings (Figure 1D).
Much larger than its cousin the red-breasted, a white-breasted nuthatch has a black cap, white face, and slaty blue-gray back.
The most characteristic phenomenon is shear slaty cleavage, which so far was often misinterpreted as bedding in sedimentary rocks.
Gorgeous birds, with striking black masks, slaty backs and peachy chests, for me they're more evocative than the first darting swallows that follow shortly after them.
The sites in Peninsular Thailand (Ak-1, Ak-2, Ak-3) are on a group of massive to thick bedded limestone, shale, slaty shale, and bedded chert of the same period.
And the great slaty woodpecker of Indonesia (Mulleripicus pulverulentus pulverulentus) is in serious trouble.
BRONZEN and SLATY, are color words in one sense even if not their primary sense.