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Dr. Carolyn A. Crow


Assistant Professor

Department of Geological Sciences
University of Colorado Boulder

The samples returned by the Apollo missions continue to revolutionize not only our understanding of our Moon, but also provide valuable insights into the nature and evolution of our solar system. In the next decade, multiple missions will return samples from asteroids, the Moon, and Mars. Analyses of these materials will lead to new ground breaking discoveries about our closest planetary neighbors and are bound to once again revolutionize how we think about our place in the solar system.

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. My research focuses on understanding the evolution of planetary crusts through geochemical analyses of samples. I have worked with samples ranging from lunar rocks returned by Apollo astronauts, Martian meteorites, and samples from the Vredefort impact basin in South Africa. Part of my research also supports Nuclear Forensics projects that aim to understand the signatures of underground nuclear explosions in support of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).


Apollo Samples

I have multiple ongoing research projects involving Apollo samples. In particular, I am interested in understanding the nature of early lunar magmas, the chronology of impact bombardment, and the record of regolith processes that influence the lunar crust.

Terrestrial Impacts

Impact cratering is a fundamental process on all planetary bodies in our solar system. Terrestrial impacts provide an analog with which we can study the cratering process and the ways that these extreme environments influence sample chemistry and chronology.

Nuclear Forensics

Many of the chemical systems and analytical techniques used in cosmochemistry are relevant for nuclear forensics investigations. I am interested in understanding the noble gas signatures of underground explosions and the methods for detecting these signatures.

Xenon systematics of individual lunar zircons, a new window on the history of the lunar surface

Crow C. A., Crowther S. A., McKeegan K. D., Turner G., Busemann H., and Gilmour J. D.

Geochimica et. Cosmochimica Acta (2017)


Teaching & Outreach

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Ad Astra Academy

Ad Astra Academy is a unique education, outreach, and development project that brings the excitement of exploration to students in some of the most underserved regions of the world. As Program Director I am responsible for developing curricula that engages students through inquiry-based learning.

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