DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DIRK WIERSMA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Pyrite is composed of iron-sulphide (FeS2) and it is a widespread mineral that is found in many types of rock. It fits the cubic crystal system, and well-developed crystals of pyrite can be perfect cubes (hexaeders) with smooth or striated metallic surfaces. Romantics and dreamers are known to mistake glossy grains in freshly broken rock for gold and pyrite's nickname is therefore "fool's gold". In this attractive sample the pyrite is interspersed with elongate and needle shaped crystals of quartz. Quartz is composed of silica (SiO2) and is one of the most common rock-forming minerals of the Earth's crust. From the Buenaventura mine in the Pasto Bueno mining district, Peru. Actual width of sample is 170 mm.
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