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What is Fool's Gold?

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Steve Sobieszczyk. Today's question goes out to all you geologists and geology teachers out there.

What is Fool's Gold?

Fool's Gold can be one of three minerals: pyrite, chalcopyrite or biotite. The most common mineral mistaken for gold tends to be pyrite, although chalcopyrite may also appear gold-like. In general, the pristine form of biotite is fairly recognizable, however, weathered biotite can be easily confused for flake gold.

And now you know. Join us every weekday for a new CoreFact. If you have a question you think we should answer on the air, email it to us at or leave us a voicemail at 703-648-5600; don't forget long distance fees do apply.

The USGS CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

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