Chlorite and Pyrite

New Westminster, British Columbia

Pyrite is a common iron sulphide mineral found in many different geological settings. It has a brassy-yellow metallic colour that has caused many people to mistake it for gold, giving it its other name, “Fool’s gold”. Pyrite and gold can be quite easily distinguished from one another: pyrite is less yellow and much lighter and harder than gold, which can be scratched with a pocket knife.  Pyrite often forms perfect cubes, which can grow to quite large sizes, because of its crystal structure. The word pyrite comes from the Greek word ‘pyr’ meaning fire, because it will spark if hit with other metal or stone objects.

Chlorite is a common green mineral that is also found in various geological settings. It often forms as an alteration or secondary mineral, as it replaces other minerals when a rock is exposed to changes in temperature, pressure or water chemistry. Chlorite can occur in several different forms, as tabular crystals or thin flakes or scales like mica, and can be easily scratched with a fingernail.

This sample of two rusted cubes of pyrite is from New Westminster in the Lower Mainland. These large cubes of pyrite have been exposed to oxygen and are beginning to oxidize, or rust. The pyrite is surrounded by platy green crystals of chlorite.

Specimen Information

Store: Association for Mineral Exploration (AME)

Collection: –

Accession #: AME-627

Primary Mineral: Pyrite

Secondary Mineral: Chlorite

Site Locality: –

Location: New Westminster, British Columbia

Special Features: n/a

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