Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Geobiology

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 856-858

Sulfide Mineral Oxidation

  • D. Kirk NordstromAffiliated withU.S. Geological Survey


Sulfide-mineral weathering; Sulfide-ore oxidation


Sulfide mineral. A metal-sulfide compound, such as pyrite (FeS2), which forms at high temperature (>50°C) in well-crystallized veins or masses and at low temperatures (<50°C) in poorly crystalline and fine-grained particles.

Oxidation. The chemical process of reacting with oxygen. More generally, the chemical process of removing electrons from an atom or group of atoms.


Metal-sulfide minerals are valuable as ores for metals that have a wide variety of uses from jewelry to components in vehicles and electronic equipment. They are found primarily in hydrothermal mineral deposits that occur in numerous geologic environments. The most common sulfide mineral is pyrite; other important sulfide ore minerals include chalcopyrite (copper ore), molybdenite (molybdenum ore), sphalerite (zinc ore), galena (lead ore), and cinnabar (mercury ore). When these minerals are exposed to weathering at ...

This is an excerpt from the content