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Don DePaolo

geologist: Earth and Environmental Sciences

Media contact: Dan Krotz, 510-486-4019,


DePaolo was officially announced as the Earth Sciences Division Director in 2007. In Spring of 2009, DePaolo became the Director of the Center for Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2 (EFRC). DePaolo was appointed Associate Laboratory Director of Energy and Environmental Sciences April 1, 2011.

DePaolo established and directs the Center for Isotope Geochemistry, a joint research facility between Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley.  He is also the Class of 1951 Professor of Geochemistry in UC Berkeley’s Department of Earth and Planetary Science.

His research interests focus on using naturally occurring isotopes to explore explore questions such as origin of the deep-source Hawaiian plume and other hotspots.

He explores theories on mantle dynamics, tracking fluids moving through groundwater systems in relation to tracing contaminants.

He also seeks to understand isotopic fractionation of molten materials, magma chamber processes, and life cycles of volcanoes isotopic evidence that may lead to detecting life on other planets.

With implications for climate shifts, he has conducted chronology studies of of both difficult-to-date young volcanic rocks and ancient continental rocks and the isotopic composition of old ocean sediments.

Recent Publications

  • Lee, J.-E., Fung, I., DePaolo, D.J., and Otto-Bliesner, B., Water Isotopes during the Last Glacial Maximum: New 
  • GCM calculations. Journal of Geophysical Research (2008)
  • DePaolo, D.J., Citation for presentation of the 2007 F.W. Clarke Award to Ethan F. Baxter, Geochim. Cosmochim. 
  • Acta, v. 72/12S, p. S6 (2008)
  • DePaolo, D.J. and Orr, F.M., Geoscience Research for Our Energy Future.  Physics Today, v.61, no. 8, 46-51 (2008)
  • Dong X., Zhao Z.D., Mo X.X., Yu X.H., Zhang H.F., Li B., DePaolo D., Geochemistry of the Cenozoic Kamafugites 
  • from west Qinling and its constraint for the nature of magma source region. Acta Petrologica Sinica, v. 24 (2), 238-
  • 248 (2008)
  • Lu, Guoping, DePaolo, D.M., Kang Q.J., Zhan, D.X., Lattice Boltzman simulation of snow crystal growths in clouds. 
  • Journal of Geophysical Research—Atmospheres, v. 114, article #D07305 (DOI: 10.1029/2008JD011087)

Awards and Memberships

  • 2009 Fellow, American Association by the Advancement of Science
  • 2000 Harold Urey Medal, European Assoc. of Geochemistry
  • 2000 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow
  • 1999 Arthur L. Day Medal, Geol. S
  • 1997-98 Miller Research Professor, U.C. Berkeley
  • 1997 Geochemistry Fellow, Geochem. Soc. and EAG
  • 1997 Fellow, Geological Soc. Am
  • 1994-95 Fulbright Senior Scholar, Australia National University
  • 1994 Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 1993 Member, National Academy of Sciences
  • 1992 Fellow, California Academy of Sciences
  • 1987 Mineralogical Society of America Award
  • 1987 Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America
  • 1983 J.B. MacElwane Award, American Geophysical Union
  • 1983 Fellow, American Geophysical Union


Ph.D. Geology, Minor in Chemistry, California Institute of Technology

B.S. with Honors, Geology, SUNY Binghamton

last updated: 2017-08-04 10:23:03