Slate rock

  • Sale
  • Regular price $11.95 NZD
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.

We currently have 1 in stock.

A fine-grained rock that splits into thin, flat sheets. It is frequently seen on the roofs of historic buildings because of its durability and resistance to moisture.

Metamorphic: Formed from the compression and metamorphism of shale or mudstone.

Source location: Westland and Marlborough.

Sizes: Choose from dropdown menu either Shelf specimen (300–800g), or Hand specimen (less than 300g)

Note: Images are examples of specimens only. Sizes and shapes will vary.

More detail


Slate is a fine-grained metamorphic rock formed from the compression and metamorphism of shale or mudstone. It typically exhibits a distinct foliation or layered structure, resulting in its ability to be split into thin, flat sheets.



Physical properties of slate

  • Colour: Can have various colours, including grey, black, green, purple, or red, depending on the presence of different minerals.
  • Lustre: It typically has a matte or dull lustre.
  • Hardness: Low hardness of around 3 to 4 on the Mohs scale, making it easy to cut and shape.
  • Density: Ranges from 2.6 to 2.8 grams per cubic centimetre.
  • Cleavage: Exhibits excellent cleavage, allowing it to be split into thin, smooth sheets along its foliation planes.

General properties of slate

  • Foliation: Characterised by its well-developed foliation, with the rock splitting into thin, parallel sheets due to the alignment of minerals during metamorphism.
  • Texture: A fine-grained texture, often feeling smooth and soft to the touch.
  • Low Porosity: Relatively low in porosity, making it impermeable to water and resistant to staining and weathering.
  • Durability: Highly durable and resistant to wear, making it suitable for various applications.
  • Fire Resistance: Fire-resistant, making it a desirable material for fire surrounds and roofing.
  • Insulation: Exhibits excellent thermal and sound insulation properties, providing energy-efficient benefits.

Uses of slate in New Zealand and worldwide

  • Roofing: Commonly used as a roofing material due to its durability, impermeability, and aesthetic appeal.
  • Flooring and Paving: Its smooth texture and durability make it suitable for flooring, pathways, and outdoor paving.
  • Cladding: Used as a decorative cladding material for walls, facades, and interior surfaces.
  • Writing Surfaces: Historically, slate was used as writing surfaces, and it is still used today for blackboards, chalkboards, and signage.
  • Crafts and Artwork: Used for artistic purposes, including sculptures, carvings, and decorative objects.
  • Billiard Tables: Its flatness, smoothness, and durability make it ideal for the playing surface of billiard tables.
  • Memorial Stones: Used for memorial stones and gravestones due to its durability and ability to retain inscriptions.