Hematite, also spelled as hæmatite, is the mineral form of iron(III) oxide (Fe2O3), one of several iron oxides. Hematite crystallizes in the rhombohedral system, it forms a complete solid solution at temperatures above 950°C.


Hematite is a mineral, colored black to steel or silver-gray, brown to reddish brown, or red. It is mined as the main ore of iron. While the forms of hematite vary, they all have a rust-red streak. Hematite is harder than pure iron, but much more brittle. The spectral signature of hematite was seen on the planet Mars by the infrared spectrometer on the NASA Mars Global Surveyor ("MGS") and 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft in orbit around Mars. The mineral was seen in abundance at two sites on the planet, the Terra Meridiani site, near the Martian equator at 0° longitude, and the second site Aram Chaos near the Valles Marineris. Several other sites also showed hematite, e.g., Aureum Chaos. Because terrestrial hematite is typically a mineral formed in aqueous environments, or by aqueous alteration, this detection was scientifically interesting enough that the second of the two Mars Exploration Rovers was targeted to a site in the Terra Meridiani region designated Meridiani Planum. In-situ investigations by the Opportunity rover showed a significant amount of hematite, much of it in the form of small spherules that were informally named "blueberries" by the science team. Analysis indicates that these spherules are apparently concretions formed from a water solution.

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