Go to Making Light's front page.
Forward to next post: Historian of things that never were
Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)
…you could take for an alien artifact.
Pyrite is sneaky that way. I have a sliced-open pyritized ammonite that looks like it was delicately machined out of brass.
...As opposed to an alien artifact that you could easily mistake for a pyrite specimen.
I'm reminded of one of the (very few) times that John W. Campbell published a photo on the inside back cover of Analog (or it may have still been Astounding.) It looked like a bizarre cityscape of stepped towers rising from a plane, and had an accompanying blurb describing the ancient alien city of Ledtintel. In fact, it was a photomicrograph of lead tin telluride crystals.
(The other time JWC printed a photo, it was a lovely shot of a rocket launch, with flame and smoke billowing around the pad... except that the rocket was just sitting there, and the gantry tower was lifting off. Trivial now, but pretty cool a couple of decades before Photoshop.)
It's a collection of shattered tesseracts.