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 Geophysics & Planetary Geosciences (3223): People
Yang  Liu's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-301
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
626.437.6532 (cell)
818.354.0771 (shared)
Email Contact:
Curriculum Vitae:

Yang Liu

Dr. Liu's current research centers on the investigation of extraterrestrial rocks and soils, returned by human or by nature, in order to understand the processes affecting the surface and interior of different planetary bodies. Her recent contribution includes the discovery of water on the Moon through the measurements of returned lunar rocks and soils. At JPL, she and a team of scientists are developing the Center of Analysis for Returned Samples (CARS), including Sample Return Science and Technology.

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

Research Interests

The central theme of Dr. Liu’s research is the formation and evolution of the surface and interior of different planetary bodies.  Her research utilizes microscopic geochemical and textural information of rocks and soils to depict the processes on planetary bodies.

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

Another direction of her research studies the formation and evolution of the crust and mantle of terrestrial bodies.  Basaltic meteorites from the Moon, Mars, and asteroids, albeit their small sizes, carry important information about the crust and mantle.  Some of these samples are so ancient that they formed within the first few million years of the Solar System formation.  These samples are particularly intriguing for understanding the formation and evolution of the Solar System.


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NASA's Mars 2020 mission will build upon many discoveries from the Curiosity Mars rover and the two Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity by taking the next key steps in our understanding of Mars' potential as a habitat for past or present life.

Professional Experience
  • Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (2012 – Present)
  • Visiting Associate/Lecturer, GPS Division, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California (2012 – Present)
  • 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)

Selected Publications

New Minerals

  1. Ma, C., Liu, Y., and Tschauner, O. (2013).  Tissintite.  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.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

  1. Chen, Y., Liu, Y., Guan, Y., Eiler, J., Ma, C., Rossman, G. R., Taylor, L. A. 2015. Multiple martian volatile reservoirs preserved in Tissint meteorite: Evidence for aqueous alteration of young martian basalt.  Earth & Planetary Science Letters (in press).
  2. McCubbin, F. M., Vander Kaaden, K. E., Tartese, R., Klima, R.L., Liu, Y., and 9 more authors. 2014. Volatiles (H, C, N, F, S, Cl) in the lunar mantle, crust, and regolith: Distribution, processes, sources, and significance.  Am. Min. (in press), Invited Review.
  3. Ma, C., Tschauner, O., Beckett, J. R., Liu, Y., Rossman, G. R., Zuravlev, K., Prakapenka, V., Dera P., Sinogeikin, S., Taylor,L. A. (2014) Tissintite, (Ca,Na,□)AlSi2O6, a highly defective shock-induced, high-pressure clinopyroxene in the Tissint Martian meteorite.  Earth & Planetary Science Letters (in press).
  4. Liu, Y.,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.
  5. Baziotis, I. P., Liu, Y., DeCarli, P., Melosh, J., McSween, H. Y., Bodnar, R. J., and Taylor, L. A. 2013. The unique Tissint martian meteorite: Evidence for largest impact excavation. Nature Communication, 4, 1404, DOI: 10.1038.
  6. Liu Y.,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.
  7. Liu, Y.,and Taylor, L. A. 2011a. Characterization of lunar dust: Physical, chemical and mineralogical properties. Planetary and Space Science, 59, 1769-1783.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Basu Sarbadhikari, A., Day, J. M. D., Liu, Y., Rumble, D., and Taylor, L.A. 2009. Petrogenesis of olivine-phyric shergottite Larkman Nunatak 06319: Implications for enriched components in martian basalts. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 73, 2190-2214.
  12. Wallace, W. T., Taylor, L. A., Liu, Y., Cooper, B. L., McKay, D. S., Chen, B., and Jeevarajan, A. S. 2009. Lunar dust and lunar simulant activation and monitoring. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 44, 961-970.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Liu, Y. and Zhang, Y.  2000. Bubble growth in rhyolitic melt. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 181, 251-264.

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