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This is an example of the mineral pyrite.
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Courtesy of Corel

Pyrite

Like real gold, pyrite is a brassy yellow color. But unlike gold, pyrite is not worth large amounts of money. That's because it is a very common mineral. It is found in all three rocks types: sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic.

Pyrite is made up of the elements iron (Fe) and sulfur (S). Although pyrite is common and contains a high percentage of iron, it has never been mined for its iron content. During World War II, pyrite was mined for its sulfur to produce sulfuric acid, an industrial chemical.

  • Shape: Cubic ((Crystals usually look like cubes, octahedrons or dodecahedrons.)
  • Luster: Metallic
  • Color: Yellow gold
  • Streak: Greenish black
  • Hardness: 6 to 6.5 on Mohs Hardness Scale
  • Cleavage: Poor
  • Fracture: Conchoidal

Last modified April 15, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.

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TES XXVI, 3 fall 2010 The Fall 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on rocks and minerals, including articles on minerals and mining, the use of minerals in society, and rare earth minerals, and includes 3 posters!

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