Oliver Tschauner

Professor of Research
Mineralogy, Crystallography, Dynamic compression
SEB 3118
Phone: (702) 774-1487


Diplom (=MS+BS), University of Cologne, Crystallography, 1994
“On the dielectric permittivity in solids in their dependence on external directional pressure”
Advisor: S. Haussühl (University of Cologne)
 Dr. rer. nat.(Ph.D.), Mineralogy, University of Cologne, 1997
“Stability and chemical properties of Ni,Co:(Mg,Fe)SiO3-perovskite”
  1. Palme (University of Cologne)
  2. Boehler (Max Planck Institut für Chemie, Mainz)

Research Interests:

Mineralogy of extreme conditions with emphasis on mineral chemistry of the deep Earth (transition zone and deeper) and processes during large asteroid impacts. I examine the rare, (sub-) microscopic natural occurrences of such phases and obtain in-depth information about their crystal chemistry and thermodynamics beyond what is realistically achievable in experiments. Thus, mineralogy of extreme conditions complements experimental high-pressure geo/mineral-physics.

Synergistic Activities:

Associate editor of American Mineralogist since 2009.

Guest-editor for Special Issue in MAPS “Shock metamorphism” (to be issued Fall 2017)

Organizer/Co-Organizer of Meetings (past 3 years):

  • Shock-Metamorphism in planetary and terrestrial rocks, Berlin August 2016, O. Tschauner, T. Sharp, D. Stöffler.
  • Carbides, Nitrides and Related Materials in Earth, Planetary, and Materials Science Davis, CA, A. Navrotsky, A. Shahar, O. Tschauner, A .Zerr. May 22 – 23, 2014

Convener and organizer at the AGU Fall Meetings: 2014, 2015, 2016

Recent Research Highlights:

Is merrillite shock-transformed whitlockite? Implications for the water budget of Mars, C. Adcock, O. Tschauner. E. Hausrath, A. Udry, Y. Cai, S.N. Luo, Nature Communications 8, Article number: 14667 (2017), doi:10.1038/ncomms14667

Black crosses: collected diffraction data. Blue line: modeled pattern of whitlockite. Red line: modeled pattern of merrillite. A) Diffraction pattern for pre-shocked synthetic Mg-whitlockite. Sample is whitlockite with less than 1 mass % merrillite, consistent with previous work. B) Diffraction pattern for the same synthetic Mg-whitlockite material recovered from shock experiment GG0093. The shocked sample contains ~35 mass % merrillite. In this as in all other shock experiments (Adcock et al. 2017) we observed shock-induced dehdyration of whitlockite into merrilite. Adcock et al. Nat. Comm 8, 2017 describe this finding in detail and discuss possible implications for the water abundance on early Mars.


Tissintite (Ca, Na, □) AlSi2O6, a Highly Defective, Shock-Induced, High-Pressure Pyroxene in the Tissint Martian Meteorite. Chi Ma, Oliver Tschauner, John Beckett, Yang Liu, George Rossman, Kirill Zuravlev, Vasili Prakapenka, Przemyslav Dera and Lawrence A. Taylor, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 422,194-205, Juli 2015 

Discovery of Bridgmanite – the most abundant mineral in Earth, in a shocked meteorite, O. Tschauner, C. Ma, J. Beckett, C. Prescher, V. Prakapenka, G.Rossman, Science 346, 1100( 2014), DOI: 10.1126/science.1259369 – highly cited paper


GEOL 452X/652X Advanced Mineralogy

GEOL 420/620 – Advanced topics: X-ray diffraction