Pyrolusite is the mineral representation of manganese dioxide and is an important ore of the metal, manganese. It has a silver, metallic luster, a black or bluish-black streak and soft texture. This mineral is commonly found in finely packed fibrous, acicular, and radial forms composed of very thin needles or fibers. Pyrolusite is believed to be manganite replaced by pyrolusite. Intermediary stages between the two minerals have been observed, suggesting that pyrolusite probably often pseudomorphs from manganite. Therefore, a more accurate name for these specimens would be: pyrolusite replaced manganites. This mineral easily dirties fingers when handled. A quality that made it an effective pigment in the past. Analysis has proven that many prehistoric cave paintings were done using ground pyrolusite and traces of the mineral were found at known neanderthal sites. Some pyrolusite specimens have the appearance of a blossoming, silver flower that contrasts nicely with its typical, red, iron-rich matrix.
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