Research Expertise and Interest

noble gas geochemistry, thermochronometry, cosmogenic nuclide, alpine glacial erosion, chemical weathering, lunar impacts, magnetism, Martian meteorites, Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission

Research Description

David Shuster is a professor in Earth and Planetary Science at UC Berkeley.  His group is interested in geologic processes and phenomena that occur primarily at and near the surfaces of Earth, Earth's moon and Mars. They study the timescales of such phenomena using observations of radiogenic and cosmogenic nuclides measured in our labs.  The questions that they address span orders of magnitude in space and time, ranging from the development of mountain topography during the Pleistocene to processes leading to magnetic fields recorded in early solar system condensates.  Their research is ultimately motivated by outstanding questions and problems in earth and planetary science. Because observational tools are often not available to address these question and related phenomena that occurred over geologic timescales, much of their effort is focused on developing an understanding of the basic chemistry and physics of geochemical systems in order to develop new sets of observations.  Prof. Shuster currently serves as a Participating Scientist and a Long Term Planner on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission, focused on sample collection.

In the News

Perseverance Rover Retrieves Key Clues to Mars’ Geologic and Water History

Jezero Crater, just north of the Martian equator, was a target for NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission and its Perseverance rover because it contained what looked like a river delta that formed inside a lake bed and thus could potentially tell scientists about when water flowed on the planet’s surface. Rocks collected from the floor of the crater underlie the delta sediments, so their crystallization ages will provide an upper limit for the delta’s formation, according to geochemist David Shuster, professor of earth and planetary science at the University of California, Berkeley.
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