What is natural slate?
Slate is derived from fine-grained sediments such as mud or occasionally volcanic ash laid down millions of years ago in layers known as bedding. As the pile of sediments thickened, the original open structure of the mud was compacted into a mudstone or shale.
These rocks are easily split on the bedding planes and are referred to as flagstones. However, for a slate to form, subsequent intense geological forces associated with mountain building are required, during which the minerals present in the original mudstone are metamorphosed.