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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

Group Supervisor


  • 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

  • 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 CT, FE-SEM, Electron probe, SIMS, micro-XRF, FTIR, to obtain textural, mineralogical and geochemical information of rocks and soils, in order to understand the processes affecting the surface and interior of different planetary bodies. Her research has covered a wide range of topics from lunar soil simulants, physical properties of lunar soil/dust, mantle xenoliths, to petrogenesis of igneous rocks, including those encountered by the Perseverance rover in Jezero crater.

One of her research focuses is surface and interior volatiles. Results aim to answer questions such as: What are the sources of surface and interior volatiles? What is the budget of volatiles on a planetary body? How are they lost from magma? Most recent results include discovery of vapor condensate minerals on lunar volcanic beads, determination of subsurface and magmatic water signatures on Mars using an impact-melt hygrometer, and hydrothermal products in Martian meteorites.

Selected Awards

  • 2014-Mariner Award
  • 2016-Voyager Awards
  • 2016-Mars Exploration Science Support Team Award
  • 2016- PIXL Instrument Team
  • 2020-Voyager Award
  • 2021-Voyager 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.
  3. Liu, Y. (2020) NWA 13134, shergottite, Meteorite Bulletin, 109.
  4. Liu, Y. (2021) NWA 13638, lunar breccia, Meteorite Bulletin, 110.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

  1. Liu, Y. and Ma, C. 2022. Direct evidence of volcanic outgassing of Na and K on the Moon from Apollo orange beads. Icarus 382, 10.1016/j.icarus.2022.115044
  2. Liu, Y. et al. 2022. An olivine cumulate outcrop on the floor of Jezero crater, Mars. Science 377, 1513-1519.
  3. Liu, Y., Fischer, W.W., Ma, C., Beckett, J.R., Tschauner, O., Guan, Y., Lingappa, U.F., Webb, S.M., Prakapenka, V.B., Lanza, N.L., Agee, C.B. 2021. Manganese oxides in Martian meteorites Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 and 7533. Icarus 364,
  4. Ma, C., Liu, Y. 2019. Discovery of a zinc-rich mineral on the surface of lunar orange pyroclastic beads. American Mineralogist 104, 447-452.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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. Am. Min. 100, 1668-1707. Invited Review.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Liu, Y., and Taylor, L. A. 2011a. Characterization of lunar dust: Physical, chemical and mineralogical properties. Planetary and Space Science, 59, 1769-1783.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Liu, Y. and Zhang, Y. 2000. Bubble growth in rhyolitic melt. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 181, 251-264.


Mars 2020