Banded iron formation
Banded iron formations (also known as banded ironstone formations or BIFs) are distinctive units of sedimentary rock that are almost always of Precambrian age. A typical banded iron formation consists of repeated, thin layers (a few millimeters to a few centimeters in thickness) of silver to black iron oxides, either magnetite (Fe3O4) or hematite (Fe2O3), alternating with bands of iron-poor shales and cherts, often red in color, of similar thickness, and containing microbands (sub-millimeter) of iron oxides. Some of the oldest known rock formations (having formed ca. 3,700 million years ago), are associated with banded iron formations. Banded iron formations account for more than 60% of global iron reserves, and can be found in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine, and the United States.
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