GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEOFF TOMPKINSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Iron pyrites. A group of iron pyrites (iron sulphide) crystals reflect coloured light. The mineral, also known as 'pyrite' and 'fool's gold' is a pale brass-yellow with bright metallic lustre. It often occurs as well-formed cubic, octahedral or pyritohedral crystals. It is the most abundant sulphide mineral, found as an accessory in igneous, contact metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Its colour leads inexperienced prospectors to believe that they have found precious metal. Although not very valuable, iron pyrites is useful as a source of sulphur and in the manufacture of sulphuric acid. Photograph of a sample from Peru.
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