‘Comet fragments’ found in massive meteorite in China have actually been laced with pyrite, officials say

(FoxNews) Some of the jagged fragments the world’s largest known meteorite ever recovered in China are actually pyrite (also known as graphite), the government-run newspaper Global Times reported Wednesday.

The articles said police tested seven of the 40 pieces that were seized by customs officials in December and identified pyrite, which gets its name because of its crystalline structure.

Parts of the pieces were displayed publicly for the first time Friday at an exhibition in Beijing.

Pyrite is common in the meteorite mining industry. In fact, China often issues small black or gray bags of jagged pieces to dealers for them to carry back to their locations.

If authorities test more pieces of the rock, they will possibly see more pyrite, the paper added.

Authorities in China’s Hunan province said last week that 10 previously unreported pieces of the space rock will be released in 2020 to tell the story of the “Great Comet of 16135,” as the current specimen is known.

Some of the rock fragments in the exhibition are six years old and were sealed by customs officials after being mistaken for pyrite by other dealers. Police found the rock in 2013 in eastern China’s Fengcheng County but only recently confirmed its authenticity.

The rock measures about 34 inches long and weighs some 66 pounds. It is inscribed in Chinese with the names of officials who collected the rock, Qiao Geng and Zhang Dongmei.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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