A rock formed 2.6 billion years ago and found in a Rio Tinto mine in WA’s Pilbara region will be displayed at London’s Natural History Museum.

The 2.5 tonne rock sourced from the Mt Tom Price Mine with help from the area’s traditional owners, the Eastern Guruma people, will be part of an exhibition celebrating the natural world.

The colourfully layered rock is a piece of banded iron formation created when bacteria in the earth’s young oceans began to produce oxygen through photosynthesis.

That oxygen combined with iron in the water to form iron oxide and sank to the sea floor, where layers of it developed between layers of silica-rich sediment and played a key role in oxygenating the ocean and supporting the evolution of more complex life.

Rio Tinto Group’s growth and innovation executive Stephen McIntosh said such rocks help us understand how the world evolved.

Image: Rio Tinto.