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Yang Liu

Photo of Yang Liu


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 183-301

Pasadena, CA 91109


626.437.6532 (cell)


818.354.0771 (shared)

Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Planetary Geosciences


  • B.S. Petroleum Geology, Chengdu College of Technology (1995)
  • M.S. Geology, The University of Michigan (1998)
  • Ph.D. Geology, The University of Michigan (2003)

Professional Experience

  • Principal Investigators
    • NASA Cosmochemistry, 2013
    • Presidents and Directors Fund, 2016
    • NASA Solar System Workings, 2019
  • Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (2012 – Present)
  • Visiting Associate, GPS Division, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (2013 – Present)
  • Lecturer, GPS Division, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (2013 – 2015)
  • Research Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (2010 – 2012)
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Tennessee, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (2005 –  2009)
  • Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Chicago, Department of Geophysical Sciences (2003 – 2005)

Research Interests

Dr. Liu's research focuses on the investigation of extraterrestrial rocks and soils, returned by planetary sample return missions or by nature.  She uses microbeam methods including FE-SEM, Electron probe, SIMS to obtain mineralogical and geochemical information of rocks and soils, in order to understand the processes affecting the surface and interior of different planetary bodies.

One direction of her research focuses on volatiles, from those on the surface to the interior.  Results aim to answer questions such as: What are the sources of surface volatiles observed on airless terrestrial bodies? What is the budget of volatiles on a planetary body? How do they affect magma properties and thus volcanic eruptions? 

The second direction focuses on the study of water on Mars.  Her research group is developing an impact-melt hygrometer for subsurface and magmatic water on Mars through analytical and experimental approaches.  In addition, she and collaborators found first occurrences of unusual minerals in NWA 7034/7533 that record hydrothermal and metamorphic events.

Selected Awards

  • 2014-Mariner Award
  • 2016-Voyager Award
  • 2016-MED Team Award

Selected Publications

New Minerals

  1. Ma, C., Liu, Y., and Tschauner, O. (2013).   IMA 2013-027. CNMNC Newsletter No. 16, Aug. 2013, Page 2707; Mineralogical Magazine, 77, 2695-2709.
  2. Tschauner, O., Ma, C., and Liu, Y. (2013). Ahrensite. IMA 2013-028. CNMNC Newsletter No. 16, Aug. 2013, Page 2707; Mineralogical Magazine, 77, 2695-2709.

New Meteorites classified

  1. Liu, Y. (2016) NWA 10553, brecciated eucrite, Meteorite Bulletin, 105.
  2. Liu, Y. (2016) NWA 10554, eucrite, Meteorite Bulletin, 105.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

  1. Liu, Y., Fischer, W.W., Ma, C., et al. 2019. Manganese oxides in Martian meteorites Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 and Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta (in revision).
  2. Ma, C., Liu, Y*. 2019. Discovery of a zinc-rich mineral on the surface of lunar orange pyroclastic beads. American Mineralogist 104, (scheduled for March issue) (*corresponding author)
  3. Liu Y., Chen Y., Guan Y., Eiler, J.M., Ma C., Rossman, G.R., Zhang, Y. 2018. Impact-melt hygrometer for Mars: The case of shergottite Elephant Moraine (EETA) 79001. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 490, 206-215.
  4. Liu, Y., Ma, C., Beckett, J., Chen, Y., Guan, Y. 2016a. Rare-earth-element minerals in martian breccia meteorite NWA 7034 and 7533: Implications for fluid-rock interaction in the martian crust. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 451, 251-262.
  5. Ma, C., Tschauner, O., Beckett, J. R., Liu, Y., Rossman, G. R., Stanislav, V., Sinogeikin, S., Smith, J., Taylor, A. 2016. Ahrensite, g- Fe2SiO4, a new shock-metamorphic mineral from the Tissinte meteorite-implications for the Tissint shock event on Mars. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 184, 240-256.
  6. Chen, Y., Liu, Y., Guan, Y., Eiler, J., Ma, C., Rossman, G. R., Taylor, L. A. 2015. Evidence in Tissint for recent subsurface water on Mars. Earth & Planetary Science Letters 425, 55-63.
  7. Chen, Y., Zhang, Y.-X., Liu, Y., Guan, Y., Eiler, Stolper, E.M. 2015b. Water, fluorine, and sulfur concentrations in the lunar mantle. Earth & Planetary Science Letters 427, 37-46.
  8. McCubbin, F. M., Vander Kaaden, K. E., Tartese, R., Klima, R.L., Liu, Y., and 9 more authors. 2015. Volatiles (H, C, N, F, S, Cl) in the lunar mantle, crust, and regolith: Distribution, processes, sources, and significance. Min. 100, 1668-1707. Invited Review.
  9. Ma, C., Tschauner, O., Beckett, J. R., Liu, Y., et al. (2014) Tissintite, (Ca,Na,□)AlSi2O6, a highly defective shock-induced, high-pressure clinopyroxene in the Tissint Martian meteorite. Earth & Planetary Science Letters 422, 194-205.
  10. Liu, , Balta, J. B., Goodrich, C. A., McSween, H. Y., and Taylor, L. A. 2013. New constraints on the formation of Elephant Moraine 79001 Lithology A. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 108, 1-20.
  11. Liu , Guan, Y., Zhang, Y., Rossman, G. R., Eiler, J. M., Taylor, L. A. 2012a. Direct measurement of hydroxyl in the lunar regolith and the origin of lunar surface water. Nature Geoscience, 5, 779-782.
  12. Liu, , and Taylor, L. A. 2011a. Characterization of lunar dust: Physical, chemical and mineralogical properties. Planetary and Space Science, 59, 1769-1783.
  13. Boyce, J.W., Liu, Y., Rossman, G. R., Guan, Y. B., Eiler, J. M., Stolper, E. M., and Taylor, L. A. 2010. Lunar apatite with terrestrial volatile abundances. Nature, 466, 466-469.
  14. Liu, Y., Floss, C., Day, J.M.D., Hill, E., and Taylor, L.A. 2009a. Petrogenesis of lunar mare basalt meteorite Miller Range 05035. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 44, 261-284.
  15. Liu, Y., Taylor, L. A., Sarbadhikari, A. B., Valley, J. W., Ushikubo, T., Spicuzza, M. J., Kita, N., Ketcham, R. A., Carlson, W., Shatsky, V., and Sobolev, N.V. 2009b. Metasomatic origin of diamonds in the world's largest diamondiferous eclogite. Lithos, 112, 1014-1024.
  16. Liu, Y., Park, J., Schnare, D., Hill, E., and Taylor, L. A. 2008a. Characterization of lunar dust for toxicological studies. II: Texture and shape characteristics. Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 21, 272-279.
  17. Liu, Y., Anderson, A. T., and Wilson, C. J. N. 2007. Melt pockets in phenocrysts and decompression rates of silicic magmas before fragmentation. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth 112, B06204, doi:10.1029/2006JB004500.
  18. Liu, Y., Taylor, L. A., Thompson, J. R., Schnare, D. W., and Park, J. S. 2007. Unique properties of lunar impact glass: Nanophase metallic Fe synthesis. American Mineralogist, 92, 1420-1427.
  19. Liu, Y., Anderson, A. T., Wilson, C. J. N., Davis, A. M., and Steele, I. M. 2006. Mixing and differentiation in the Oruanui rhyolitic magma, Taupo, New Zealand: evidence from volatiles and trace elements in melt inclusions. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 151, 71-87.
  20. Liu, Y., Zhang, Y., and Behrens, H. 2005. Solubility of H2O in rhyolitic melts at low pressures and a new empirical model for mixed H2O-CO2 solubility in rhyolitic melts. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 143, 219-235.
  21. Liu, Y. and Zhang, Y.  2000. Bubble growth in rhyolitic melt. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 181, 251-264.


Mars 2020