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Pyrite Suns

Pyrite suns are found 300 feet deep in the coal mines of Sparta, Illinois in a narrow seam lying on top of the coal vein.  Miners bring  them out in their lunch buckets.  By doing this they are preserving what would otherwise be destroyed in the mines.  These were originally thought to be marcasite, but research by the Smithsonian Institute has proven them to be pyrite, iron sulphide.  Due to their composition, they are very durable.  Being surrounded by black shale and coal makes it a difficult cleaning process, but unveils their hidden natural beauty.  They date back 350 million years, and one of the present theories of origin has them as pyritized fossil replacement.

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