sphalerite sfăl´ərīt, sfā´– [key], mineral composed of zinc sulfide, usually containing some iron and a little cadmium. It occurs in crystals of the isometric system but more generally in cleavable, compact masses. It is transparent to translucent and varies greatly in color, iron-free specimens being pale yellow and those with iron being brown, red, black, or green. The most important source of zinc, sphalerite is a widely distributed mineral that commonly occurs in association with galena. It is found in large deposits in many parts of the world.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Mineralogy and Crystallography