Posted by: Raymond McDougall on 12.17.2020 | Filed under:


Specimen # 200415
Mineral: Pyrite
Location: Sparta, Randolph Co., Illinois, USA
Size: 7.4 x 7.3 x 0.6 cm


A radial disk of crystallized pyrite with good bright sparkling lustre.

These “pyrite suns”, as they are known, represent a unique occurrence – they are only known from the coal mines around the southern Illinois town of Sparta. Until recently, their mode of occurrence has been theorized but not well understood. However… there is a new article coming out soon in Rocks & Minerals magazine to explain them, and these are not what anyone thought they were! The explanation is cooler than any theory I had ever heard previously. I won’t spoil the surprise – I can only say watch for the article coming soon!

Unfortunately, most of the coal mines in the area are no longer producing, and so it remains a question as to how long we will continue to see these beautiful specimens recovered.

From the Pete Richards collection, acquired at the Rochester Mineralogical Symposium, 1989. This is a beautiful specimen!

About Pete Richards (click here)