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Pyrite-bearing conglomerate

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

Pyrite-bearing conglomerate_HERO

Exhibition Text

This quartz-pebble conglomerate is from one of the oldest layers of the Huronian Super-group. It formed as a gravel bar in a river, perhaps during a flood. The rock contains the heavy minerals pyrite (called “fool’s gold”) and uraninite (a uranium mineral), which were originally particles carried by the river. These minerals could not have survived in the presence of oxygen. They are part of the evidence for an oxygen-poor atmosphere 2.5 billion years ago.

AMNH collection

For Educators

Topic: Earth Science

Subtopic: Atmosphere

Keywords: Geology, Stratigraphic--Huronian, Uraninite, Oxygen, Atmosphere, Paleoclimatology, Pyrites

Audience: General