Crystallography365

Blogging a crystal structure a day in 2014

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Contributed by

Helen Maynard-Casely

Deadly crystal structures – Arsenopyrite

What does it look like?

Image generated by the VESTA (Visualisation for Electronic and STructural analysis) software http://jp-minerals.org/vesta/en/

Image generated by the VESTA (Visualisation for Electronic and STructural analysis) software http://jp-minerals.org/vesta/en/

What is it?

Very similar to 'fool's gold' but with a toxic twist, this is Arsenopyrite. It's the most common Arsenic containing ore and is very similar in look, setting and structure to pyrite, which is one of the reasons that makes it deadly. Many have picked it up on a hike, thinking it was pyrite, only to end up with Arsenic poisoning. One way to tell between Arsenopyrite and normal pyrite is to strike the mineral will a hammer (while wearing safety goggles of course). Arsenopyrite will emit a strong garlic smell when hit; that is the tell-tale sign of arsenic.

Where did the structure come from?

This is structure #9000109 in the Crystallography Open Database.

Tags: mineral   toxic   pyrite   iron