Residents in Hanzhong, Shaanxi province were spotted squatting down in a street in the city for hours on Wednesday, to pick up piles of sulfur powder that they had mistaken for specks of gold, caijing.com.cn reported.
The rush lasted from around 6 am to 2 pm, resulting in blocked roads and disrupted traffic, despite traffic police' attempted to disperse them.
"Old and young, women and men were all coming to collect," said a shopkeeper nearby. She said lots of people even came to borrow brooms from her store.
The mystery of the shiny flecks was solved after a logistics company said granules of rock phosphate, used as a fertilizer, had spilled onto the roads while it was transported on Tuesday night.