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About MarcasiteHide

Pale brass-yellow, tin-white on fresh exposures.
Metallic, Sub-Metallic
6 - 6½
Specific Gravity:
Crystal System:
Member of:
Early use of the word marcasite seems to have been unspecific. The word is Arabic or Moorish and was applied to pyrite and similar metallic bronze colored minerals.

Walter Pope (1665) mentioned marcasite occurring in the mercury ores of the Idria Mine, Cividale del Friuli in the Julian Alps of Slovenia: "There are also several Marcasites and stones, which seem to have specks of Gold in them, but upon trial they say, they find none in them. These round stones are some of them very ponderous, and well impregnated with Mercury; others light, having little or none in them."

The mercury ore at Idria does contain metallic golden specks of what is now called marcasite, but it also has metallic golden pyrite. Johnathan Hill used the name marcasite in 1771, but his usage was also indiscriminate and was a term for any massive "pyrites" or "mundic". In 1845, Wilhelm Karl von Haidinger defined marcasite as the mineral is known today.
Marcasite Group.

The orthorhombic polymorph of isometric (cubic) pyrite. A common natural disulfide. Compare UM1997-43-S:Fe.

Crystals common, metallic pale brass-yellow colored, tabular or pyramidal, often with curved faces; it may also be stalactic, globular, or reniform with a radiating internal structure. Frequently found replacing organic matter, forming fossils, in sedimentary beds, particularly coal beds.
May be intergrown or replaced by pyrite.

According to Schmøkel et al. (2014), effective charges on sulfur and iron are ca. -1/3 and ca. +2/3, respectively. This is in opposition to -1 and +2 charges as would be suggested by purely ionic bonding.

Visit gemdat.org for gemological information about Marcasite.

Classification of MarcasiteHide

Approved, 'Grandfathered' (first described prior to 1959)

2 : SULFIDES and SULFOSALTS (sulfides, selenides, tellurides; arsenides, antimonides, bismuthides; sulfarsenites, sulfantimonites, sulfbismuthites, etc.)
E : Metal Sulfides, M: S <= 1:2
B : M:S = 1:2, with Fe, Co, Ni, PGE, etc.
Dana 7th ed.:

12 : AmBnXp, with (m+n):p = 1:2

3 : Sulphides, Selenides, Tellurides, Arsenides and Bismuthides (except the arsenides, antimonides and bismuthides of Cu, Ag and Au, which are included in Section 1)
9 : Sulphides etc. of Fe

Pronounciation of MarcasiteHide

PlayRecorded byCountry
Jolyon & Katya RalphUnited Kingdom

Physical Properties of MarcasiteHide

Metallic, Sub-Metallic
Frequently iridescence obscures the luster and color
Pale brass-yellow, tin-white on fresh exposures.
Dark-gray to black.
6 - 6½ on Mohs scale
VHN200=915 - 1099 kg/mm2 - Vickers
Hardness Data:
Distinct on {101}. {110} in traces.
4.887 g/cm3 (Measured)    4.875 g/cm3 (Calculated)

Optical Data of MarcasiteHide

Strong yellow to light green to dark green
Creamy white, light yellowish white, white with rose-brown tint.

Chemical Properties of MarcasiteHide

Common Impurities:

Crystallography of MarcasiteHide

Crystal System:
Class (H-M):
mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) - Dipyramidal
Space Group:
Cell Parameters:
a = 4.436 Å, b = 5.414 Å, c = 3.381 Å
a:b:c = 0.819 : 1 : 0.624
Unit Cell V:
81.20 ų (Calculated from Unit Cell)
Crystals usually tabular on {010}, also pyramidal, faces often curved, frequently twinned; also stalactic, globular, or reniform with radiating internal structure.
Common on {101}, forming "swallowtail" contact twins; this may be repeated to form stellate fivelings. Less common on {011}.

Crystallographic forms of MarcasiteHide

Crystal Atlas:
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Marcasite no.80 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Marcasite no.90 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Marcasite no.141 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
Marcasite no.148 - Goldschmidt (1913-1926)
3d models and HTML5 code kindly provided by www.smorf.nl.

Edge Lines | Miller Indices | Axes

Opaque | Translucent | Transparent

Along a-axis | Along b-axis | Along c-axis | Start rotation | Stop rotation

X-Ray Powder DiffractionHide

Powder Diffraction Data:
3.431 Å(66)
2.868 Å(3)
2.707 Å(34)
2.689 Å(100)
2.408 Å(36)
2.311 Å(31)
2.052 Å(3)
1.9077 Å(30)
1.7545 Å(51)
1.7156 Å(9)
1.6905 Å(18)
1.6716 Å(12)
1.5921 Å(19)
1.5299 Å(4)
1.5164 Å(6)
1.4985 Å(6)
1.4339 Å(4)
1.4264 Å(10)
1.3644 Å(6)
1.2115 Å(4)
1.2090 Å(4)
1.2042 Å(4)
1.1886 Å(5)
1.1554 Å(5)
1.0902 Å(9)
1.0707 Å(2)
1.0519 Å(2)
1.0312 Å(5)
1.0294 Å(4)
1.0129 Å(2)
0.9879 Å(5)
0.9820 Å(2)
ICDD 24-74

Geological EnvironmentHide

Geological Setting:
Most frequently found in sedimentary rocks and coal beds, as a replacement mineral forming fossils, it is a mineral of low-temperature, near-surface, environments, forming from acid solutions. Pyrite, the more stable form of FeS^2, forms under conditions of higher temperatures and lower acidity or alkaline environments.

Synonyms of MarcasiteHide

Other Language Names for MarcasiteHide

Varieties of MarcasiteHide

BlueiteNickel-bearing variety of marcasite.
Cellular PyritesQuoted in J.D. Dana (1837) Syst. Min. 1st ed. p.405
LonchiditeAn As-bearing variety of marcasite.

Relationship of Marcasite to other SpeciesHide

Member of:
Other Members of this group:
FerroseliteFeSe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
FrohbergiteFeTe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
KulleruditeNiSe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
PetříčekiteCuSe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm

Common AssociatesHide

BitumenA sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid form of petroleum.
ClaysA group of minerals, common in soils (see also the rock clay).
Associated Minerals Based on Photo Data:
1,077 photos of Marcasite associated with CalciteCaCO3
721 photos of Marcasite associated with QuartzSiO2
545 photos of Marcasite associated with SphaleriteZnS
447 photos of Marcasite associated with GalenaPbS
366 photos of Marcasite associated with PyriteFeS2
353 photos of Marcasite associated with DolomiteCaMg(CO3)2
305 photos of Marcasite associated with BaryteBaSO4
266 photos of Marcasite associated with SideriteFeCO3
175 photos of Marcasite associated with FluoriteCaF2
168 photos of Marcasite associated with ChalcopyriteCuFeS2

Related Minerals - Nickel-Strunz GroupingHide

2.EB.05aAurostibiteAuSb2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aCattieriteCoS2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aErlichmaniteOsS2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aFukuchiliteCu3FeS8Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aGeversitePtSb2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aHaueriteMnS2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aInsizwaitePt(Bi,Sb)2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aKrut'aiteCuSe2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aLauriteRuS2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aPenroseite(Ni,Co,Cu)Se2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aPyriteFeS2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aSperrylitePtAs2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aTrogtaliteCoSe2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aVaesiteNiS2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.05aDzharkeniteFeSe2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.10bAlloclasiteCo1-xFexAsSMon. 2 : P21
2.EB.10dCostibiteCoSbSOrth. mm2 : Pmn21
2.EB.10aFerroseliteFeSe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
2.EB.10aFrohbergiteFeTe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
2.EB.10cGlaucodot(Co0.50Fe0.50)AsSOrth. mm2 : Pmn21
2.EB.10aKulleruditeNiSe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
2.EB.10ePararammelsbergiteNiAs2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pbca
2.EB.15aClinosaffloriteCoAs2Mon. 2/m : P21/m
2.EB.15aLöllingiteFeAs2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
2.EB.15aRammelsbergiteNiAs2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
2.EB.15aSafflorite(Co,Ni,Fe)As2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
2.EB.20ArsenopyriteFeAsSMon. 2/m : P21/b
2.EB.20GudmunditeFeSbSMon. 2/m : P21/b
2.EB.25CobaltiteCoAsSOrth. mm2 : Pca21
2.EB.25GersdorffiteNiAsSIso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.25Hollingworthite(Rh,Pt,Pd)AsSIso. m3 (2/m 3)
2.EB.25JolliffeiteNiAsSeIso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.25MaslovitePtBiTeIso. 2 3 : P21 3
2.EB.25MicheneritePdBiTeIso. 2 3 : P21 3
2.EB.25UllmanniteNiSbSIso. 2 3 : P21 3
2.EB.25MayingiteIrBiTeIso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.25KalungaitePdAsSeIso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
2.EB.25MilotaitePdSbSeIso. 2 3 : P21 3

Related Minerals - Dana Grouping (8th Ed.)Hide mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm,Ru)As2Orth.,Os)As2Orth.öllingiteFeAs2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnmäjokite(Fe,Ni)(Sb,As)2Orth.,Ni,Fe)As2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm

Related Minerals - Hey's Chemical Index of Minerals GroupingHide

3.9.3PyriteFeS2Iso. m3 (2/m 3) : Pa3
3.9.5GreigiteFe2+Fe3+2S4Iso. m3m (4/m 3 2/m) : Fd3m
3.9.6Mackinawite(Fe,Ni)9S8Tet. 4/mmm (4/m 2/m 2/m) : P4/nmm
3.9.7Smythite(Fe,Ni)3+xS4 (x=0-0.3)Trig. 3m (3 2/m) : R3m
3.9.8AchávaliteFeSeHex. 6/mmm (6/m 2/m 2/m) : P63/mmc
3.9.9FerroseliteFeSe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
3.9.10FrohbergiteFeTe2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
3.9.11LöllingiteFeAs2Orth. mmm (2/m 2/m 2/m) : Pnnm
3.9.12ArsenopyriteFeAsSMon. 2/m : P21/b
3.9.13GudmunditeFeSbSMon. 2/m : P21/b

Fluorescence of MarcasiteHide

Not fluorescent in ultraviolet light

Other InformationHide

Health Risks:
Marcasite is unstable to metastable and decrepitates, altering to melanterite, which contains sulfuric acid. Always wash hands after handling. Avoid inhaling dust when handling or breaking. Never lick or ingest.

Marcasite in petrologyHide

An essential component of rock names highlighted in red, an accessory component in rock names highlighted in green.

References for MarcasiteHide

Reference List:
Sort by Year (asc) | by Year (desc) | by Author (A-Z) | by Author (Z-A)
Pope, Walter (1665) Extract of a letter, lately written from Venice by the learned Doctor Walter Pope, to the Reverend Dean of Rippon, Doctor John Wilkins, concerning the mines of mercury in Friuli; and a way of producing wind by the fall of water, Philosophical Transactions, May 30, 1665, volume 1, number 2, p. 21-26.
Bannister, F.A. (1932) The distinction of pyrite from marcasite in nodular growths. Mineralogical Magazine, 23, 179-187.
Buerger (1937) American Mineralogist: 22: 48.
Palache, C., Berman, H., and Frondel, C. (1944) The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana Yale University 1837-1892, Volume I: Elements, Sulfides, Sulfosalts, Oxides. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York. 7th edition, revised and enlarged: 311-315.
Acta Chemica Scandinavica (1973) 27: 2791-2796.
Fleet, M.E. (1975) Structural chemistry of marcasite and pyrite type phases. Zeitschrift für Kristallographie: 142: 332-346.
Murowchick, J.B. (1986): Marcasite precipitation from hydrothermal solutions. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 50, 2615-2629.
Schoonen, M.A.A. and Barnes, H.L. (1991) Reaction forming pyrite and marcasite from solution I. Nucleation of FeS2 below 100° C. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 55, 1495-1504.
Schoonen, M.A.A. and Barnes, H.L. (1991) Reaction forming pyrite and marcasite from solution II. Via FeS precursors below 100° C. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta: 55: 1505-1514.
Murowchick, J.B. (1992) Marcasite inversion and the petrographic determination of pyrite ancestry. Economic Geology 87, 1141-1152.
Fleet, M.E. and Mumin, A.H. (1997) Gold-bearing arsenian pyrite and marcasite and arsenopyrite from Carlin-trend gold deposits and laboratory synthesis. American Mineralogist: 82: 182-193.
Gaines, R.V., Catherine, H., Skinner, W., Foord, E.E., Mason, B., and Rosenzweig, A. (1997) Dana's New Mineralogy: The System of Mineralogy of James Dwight Dana and Edward Salisbury Dana: 120.
Uhlig, I., Szargan, R., Nesbitt, H.W., and Laajalehto, K. (2001) Surface states and reactivity of pyrite and marcasite. Appl. Surf. Sci.: 179: 223-230.
Cordua, W.S. (2008) Marcasite - pyrite's evil twin. Leaverite News, v. 33, no. 10, p. 6-7.
Yang, H., Downs, R.T., and Eichler, C. (2008) Safflorite, (Co,Ni,Fe)As2, isomorphous with marcasite. Acta Crystallographica, E64, i62.
Yang, H. and Downs, R.T. (2008) Crystal structure of glaucodot, (Co,Fe)AsS, and its relationships to marcasite and arsenopyrite, American Mineralogist 93, 1183-1186.
Schmøkel, M.S., Bjerg, L., Cenedese, S., Jørgensen, M.R.V., Chen, Y.-S., Overgaard, J., Iversen, B.B. (2014) Atomic properties and chemical bonding in the pyrite and marcasite polymorphs of FeS2: a combined experimental and theoretical electron density study. Chemical Science: 4: 1408-1421; https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/SC/C3SC52977K#!divAbstract

Internet Links for MarcasiteHide

Localities for MarcasiteHide

This map shows a selection of localities that have latitude and longitude coordinates recorded. Click on the symbol to view information about a locality. The symbol next to localities in the list can be used to jump to that position on the map.

Locality ListShow

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