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I was splitting some slate to use in the garden and found this between two layers:
Is it a fossil plant ? Someone suggested it might be water ingress between the layers but I'm hoping for the former !
I believe that "someone" is correct - someone usually is of course .
I reckon this manifestation is down to 'dendrites', which are essentially mineral growths that grow in these fractal forms and do indeed mimic ferny plant growth, fossil or otherwise, in appearance. See this link for more explanation: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Popular_Science_Monthly/Volume_41/May_1892/Dendrites