Aaron Cavosie is an American geologist, geochemist, and planetary scientist. He has published 60+ peer-reviewed scientific papers, and served as the principal advisor of PhD, MS, and BS thesis students. He has received funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, NASA, the Australian Research Council, and other agencies. His interests involve the geochemistry, microstructure, and geochronology of accessory minerals as applied to both endogenic and exogenic processes, including the origin of granite, Earth's oldest rocks, the origin of life, meteorites, and the study of asteroid impact structures. He is currently a Senior Research Fellow at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.
BS (1999) and MS (2001) from University of New Mexico, and PhD (2005) from University of Wisconsin. Professor of Geology at University of Puerto Rico for 10 years (2005-2014). Relocated to Curtin University in 2015.
Addicted to extreme geology. Planetary science, impact craters, meteorites, isotope geochemistry, and petrology. Shocked minerals record the most extreme deformation found in nature. The study of detrital shocked minerals eroded from impact craters blends a wild collision of cross-disciplinary fields, including planetary science, sedimentology, accessory mineral geochemistry, crystallography, microanalysis, mineralogy, impact cratering, igneous petrology, shock metamorphism, geomorphology, astrobiology, early Earth, the origin of life, and more...
Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC): The planetary science group at Curtin
SSTC is the umbrella for all planetary science at Curtin- check out what we're up to.
Advised 20+ undergraduate student theses and 10+ graduate student theses.
Undergraduate students: Interested in Planetary Science? There are often Honour’s projects available. Honour’s projects can start in semester 1, and can also start mid-year. Most projects focus on microanalysis of rocks and minerals; some also involve field studies.
HDR/graduate students: Interested in a PhD in planetary science? If so, reach out. Some existing projects can fund a PhD, whereas others can be enabled by scholarship.
Types of projects Cavosie is excited about
(1) The sedimentary record produced when impact craters erode. (2) Understanding early Earth processes preserved in ancient detrital zircon. (3) Ultra-high pressure minerals created during impact events. (4) Various melt products created by meteorite impact. (5) Unravelling the shock history of meteorites from Mars and Vesta. (6) Calibrating new shocked minerals. (7) The economic potential of impact cratering. (8) Unusual zircon from any environment. (9) Creative and/or new applications of electron backscatter diffraction.
2020 Projects: Australian impact craters; Yarrabubba impact structure, Western Australia; Araguainha impact structure, Brazil; Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico; Focused ion beam and Time-of-Flight SIMS methods; shock deformation of apatite, zircon, xenotime and other minerals.
2019 Projects: Libyan desert glass, Egypt; Yallalie impact structure, Western Australia; Pantasma impact structure, Nicaragua; Araguainha impact structure, Brazil
2018 Projects: Reidite from the Woodleigh impact crater, Western Australia; Australasian tektites; Luizi impact crater, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Pantasma impact crater in Nicaragua; Vredefort Dome impact structure, South Africa; and Hadean zircon from Jack Hills, Western Australia.
2017 Projects: Zircon from S-type granite in Oman; reidite from the Ries impact structure in Germany; Earth's hottest rocks are...impact melt from Mistastin crater; dating impacts with granular monazite.
2016 Projects: Granular zircon from Meteor crater, USA; shocked xenotime from Santa Fe impact structure, USA; shocked monazite from Vredefort impact crater, South Africa.
2015 Projects: Reidite from Rock Elm impact crater, USA; questioning ages for lunar impact craters based on ex-situ lunar zircon; atom probe analysis of Hadean zircon
*NEW* September: Interview with ABC News about a new impact crater in Eastern Goldfields of WA
January: Article in The Conversation about the Yarrabubba impact discovery.
January: Interview with ABC Perth Weekends with Andrea Gibbs (starts at 1hr 5min).
January: Interview with RTRFM 92.1 Perth about Yarrabubba
January: Interview with Radio New Zealand about Yarrabubba
January: Video interview with Channel 7 News Perth (shows field work at Australian craters)
January: Curtin University press release of our Yarrabubba paper in Nature Communications.
January: Radio interview with ABC Radio Sydney (Breakfast with Josh Szeps), discussing Australasian tektite source crater. Cavosie interview segment: 34:20-43:55 (9.5 min).
November: Aaron Cavosie comments on tribute article to John W. Valley, member of the US National Academy of Sciences, who recently received a $21M AUD award to study inclusions in zircon.
October: 'On a Mission' podcast from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) features Aaron Cavosie discussing meteorite impacts as hazards from space:
[Cavosie speaks from 6:30-13:30m; 17:30-1900m; 24:15-27:45m]
September: Article in Archaeology Magazine about Libyan desert glass.
Article by Aaron Cavosie in The Conversation about Libyan desert glass.
Radio interview of Aaron Cavosie by RTRFM (podcast)
Additional media coverage of the Libyan desert glass story:
May: Article in the West Australian about natural wonders in Western Australia, including Aaron Cavosie discussing the Wolfe Creek impact crater.
Apr: Article in the West Australian with Aaron Cavosie describing occurrences of garnet in rocks near Albany, WA.
Mar: Curtin University press release about our discovery of two new impact craters, including Yallalie in Western Australia, and Pantasma in Nicaragua. Both published in Meteoritics and Planetary Science.
Additional media coverage about the discovery of Yallalie and Pantasma craters:
Additional media coverage of our reidite discovery:
Jan: Media coverage of our discovery of former reidite in Australasian tektites from Thailand, published in Geology.
Jan: Aaron Cavosie comments to QuantaMagazine on the early impact history of Earth.
Sept: Media coverage of our discovery of Earth's hottest rocks, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Nov: Interview of Aaron Cavosie by Sydney Morning Herald about geology as a profession, with David Wilson:
Additional media coverge of our Meteor Crater zircon discovery:
Nov: Media coverage of our discovery of reidite at the Rock Elm impact structure, published in Geology.
Radio interview of Aaron Cavosie with Wisconsin Public Radio.
Feb: Media coverage of our discovery of the oldest zircon on Earth, from Western Australia, using an atom probe, published in NatureGeoscience.
Radio interview with Aaron Cavosie by ABC Radio National (RN Drive).
June: Media coverage of our discovery that Li isotopes in Hadean zircon provide evidence of early Earth weathering, published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
Geological Society of America
American Geophysical Union
Mineralogical Society of America
Coordinator for Geol 2005, Igneous Petrology. Also co-teach Geol 2008 (field mapping in Albany, WA), Geol 2009 (field mapping in Kalgoorlie, WA), and Geol 5005 (field mapping for Diploma students).
- Gillespie, J., A. A. Nemchin, P. D. Kinny, L. Martin, M. Aleshin, M. P. Roberts, T. R. Ireland, M. J. Whitehouse, H. Jeon, A. J. Cavosie, and 1 more contributors. 2021. "Strontium isotope analysis of apatite via SIMS." Chemical Geology 559
- Yakymchuk, C., C. L. Kirkland, A. J. Cavosie, K. Szilas, J. Hollis, N. J. Gardiner, P. Waterton, A. Steenfelt, and L. Martin.. "Stirred not shaken; critical evaluation of a proposed Archean meteorite impact in West Greenland." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 557 Inpress.
- Erickson, T. M., C. L. Kirkland, N. E. Timms, A. J. Cavosie, and T. M. Davison. 2020. "Precise radiometric age establishes Yarrabubba, Western Australia, as Earth’s oldest recognised meteorite impact structure." Nature Communications 11 (1)
- Rickard, W. D. A., S. M. Reddy, D. W. Saxey, D. Fougerouse, N. E. Timms, L. Daly, E. Peterman, A. J. Cavosie, and F. Jourdan. 2020. "Novel Applications of FIB-SEM-Based ToF-SIMS in Atom Probe Tomography Workflows." Microscopy and Microanalysis 26 (4): 750-757.
- Timms, N. E., C. L. Kirkland, A. J. Cavosie, A. S. P. Rae, W. D. A. Rickard, N. J. Evans, T. M. Erickson, A. Wittmann, L. Ferrière, G. S. Collins, and 1 more contributors. 2020. "Shocked titanite records Chicxulub hydrothermal alteration and impact age." Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 281: 12-30.
- Cox, M. A., T. M. Erickson, M. Schmieder, R. Christoffersen, D. K. Ross, A. J. Cavosie, P. A. Bland, D. A. Kring, S. Gulick, J. V. Morgan, and 30 more contributors. 2020. "High-resolution microstructural and compositional analyses of shock deformed apatite from the peak ring of the Chicxulub impact crater." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 55 (8)
- Cox, M. A., A. Cavosie, L. Ferriere, N. E. Timms, P. A. Bland, K. Miljkovic, T. M. Erickson, and B. Hess.. "Shocked Quartz in Polymict Impact Breccia from the Upper Cretaceous Yallalie Impact Structure in Western Australia." Meteoritics and Planetary Science 54 Inpress.
- Montalvo, P. E., A. J. Cavosie, C. Kirkland, N. Evans, B. J. McDonald, C. Talavera, T. M. Erickson, and C. Lugo-Centeno. 2019. "Detrital shocked zircon provides first radiometric age constraint (
- Rochette, P., R. Alac, P. Beck, G. Brocard, A. Cavosie, V. Debaille, B. Devouard, F. Jourdan, B. Mougel, F. Moustard, and 4 more contributors.. "Pantasma: Evidence for a Pleistocene circa 14 km diameter impact crater in Nicaragua." METEORITICS & PLANETARY SCIENCE xxx Inpress.
- Timms, N. E., M. A. Pearce, T. M. Erickson, A. J. Cavosie, A. S. P. Rae, J. Wheeler, A. Wittmann, L. Ferrière, M. H. Poelchau, N. Tomioka, and 34 more contributors. 2019. "New shock microstructures in titanite (CaTiSiO5) from the peak ring of the Chicxulub impact structure, Mexico." Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 174 (5)
- Cavosie, A. J., and C. Koeberl. 2019. "Overestimation of threat from 100 Mt-class airbursts? High-pressure evidence from zircon in Libyan Desert Glass." Geology 47 (7): 609-612.
- Cavosie, A. J. 2019. "Untying microscopic Gordian knots: The granular (zircon) details of impact basins." Geology 47 (8): 799-800.
- Cox, M. A., A. Cavosie, P. Bland, K. Miljkovic, and M. Wingate. 2019. "REPLY: Microstructure dynamics of central uplifts: Reidite offset by zircon twins at the Woodleigh impact structure, Australia." GEOLOGY 47 (5): e466-e466.
- Hauser, N., W. U. Reimold, A. Cavosie, A. P. Crosta, W. H. Schward, M. Trieloff, C. Da Silva Maia De Souza, L. A. Pereira, E. N. Rodriques, and M. Brown. 2019. "Linking shock textures revealed by BSE, CL, and EBSD with U-Pb data (LA-ICP-MS and SIMS) from zircon from the Araguainha impact structure, Brazil." METEORITICS & PLANETARY SCIENCE 54: 1-26.
- Cox, M. A., A. J. Cavosie, P. A. Bland, K. Miljković, and M. T. D. Wingate. 2019. "Microstructural dynamics of central uplifts: Reidite offset by zircon twins at the Woodleigh impact structure, Australia." Geology 47 (5): e466-e466.
- Timms, N. E., D. Healy, T. E. Erickson, A. A. Nemchin, M. A. Pearce, and A. Cavosie. 2018. "Role of Elastic Anisotropy in the Development of Deformation Microstructures in Zircon." In Microstructural Geochronology Planetary Records Down to Atom Scale Moser, D. E., F. Corfu, J. R. Darling, S. M. Reddy, and K. Tait., 183-202 Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
- Cavosie, A., T. E. Erickson, P. E. Montalvo, D. C. Prado, N. O. Cintron, and R. J. Gibbon. 2018. "The Rietputs Formation in South Africa: A Pleistocene Fluvial Archive of Meteorite Impact Unique to the Kaapvaal Craton." In Microstructural Geochronology Planetary Records Down to Atom Scale Moser, D. M., F. Corfu, J. R. Darling, S. M. Reddy, and K. Tait., 203-224 Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
- Cavosie, A. J., N. E. Timms, T. M. Erickson, and C. Koeberl. 2018. "New clues from Earth's most elusive impact crater: Evidence of reidite in Australasian tektites from Thailand." Geology 46 (3): 203-206.
- Cammack, J. N., M. J. Spicuzza, A. J. Cavosie, M. J. Van Kranendonk, A. H. Hickman, R. Kozdon, I. J. Orland, K. Kitajima, and J. W. Valley. 2018. "SIMS microanalysis of the Strelley Pool Formation cherts and the implications for the secular-temporal oxygen-isotope trend of cherts." Precambrian Research 304: 125-139.
- Cavosie, A., J. W. Valley, and S. A. Wilde. 2018. "The oldest terrestrial mineral record: Thirty years of research on Hadean zircon from Jack Hills, Western Australia." In Earth's Oldest Rocks 2. van Kranendonk, M., V. Bennett, and E. Hoffmann., 255-278 Cambridge: Elsevier.
- Cavosie, A. 2018. "The Enduring Mystery of Australasian Tektites." Elements 14 (3): 212-213.
- Cavosie, A., N. E. Timms, L. Ferriere, and P. Rochette. 2018. "FRIGN zircon—The only terrestrial mineral diagnostic of high‑pressure and high-temperature shock deformation." GEOLOGY 46 (10): 891-894.
- Cox, M. A., A. Cavosie, P. A. Bland, K. Miljkovic, and M. T. D. Wingate. 2018. "Microstructural dynamics of central uplifts: Reidite offset by zircon twins at the Woodleigh impact structure, Australia." GEOLOGY 46: 983-986.
- Timms, N. E., T. M. Erickson, M. A. Pearce, A. J. Cavosie, M. Schmieder, E. Tohver, S. M. Reddy, M. R. Zanetti, A. A. Nemchin, and A. Wittmann. 2017. "A pressure-temperature phase diagram for zircon at extreme conditions." Earth-Science Reviews 165: 185-202.
- Montalvo, S. D., A. J. Cavosie, T. Erickson, and C. Talavera. 2017. "Fluvial transport of impact evidence from cratonic interior to passive margin: Vredefort-derived shocked zircon on the Atlantic coast of South Africa." American Mineralogist 102: 813-823.
- Erickson, T. M., N. E. Timms, C. L. Kirkland, E. Tohver, A. J. Cavosie, M. A. Pearce, and S. M. Reddy. 2017. "Shocked monazite chronometry: integrating microstructural and in situ isotopic age data for determining precise impact ages." Contributions To Mineralogy And Petrology 172 (2-3)
- Erickson, T. M., M. A. Pearce, S. M. Reddy, N. E. Timms, A. J. Cavosie, J. Bourdet, W. D. A. Rickard, and A. A. Nemchin. 2017. "Microstructural constraints on the mechanisms of the transformation to reidite in naturally shocked zircon." Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 172 (6)
- Timms, N. E., T. M. Erickson, M. R. Zanetti, M. Pearce, C. Cayron, A. Cavosie, S. M. Reddy, A. Wittmann, and P. K. Carpenter. 2017. "Cubic zirconia in >2370 ◦C impact melt records Earth’s hottest crust." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 477: 52-58.
- Spencer, C. J., A. J. Cavosie, T. D. Raub, H. Rollinson, H. Jeon, M. P. Searle, J. A. Miller, B. J. McDonald, N. J. Evans, and Edinburgh Ion Microprobe Facility. 2017. "Evidence for melting mud in Earth's mantle from extreme oxygen isotope signatures in zircon." Geology 45 (11): 975-978.
- Cavosie, A., P. E. Montalvo, N. E. Timms, and S. M. Reddy. 2016. "Nanoscale deformation twinning in xenotime, a new shocked mineral, from the Santa Fe impact structure (New Mexico, USA)." Geology 44 (10): 803-806.
- Cavosie, A., N. E. Timms, T. M. Erickson, J. J. Hagerty, and F. Horz. 2016. "Transformations to granular zircon revealed: Twinning, reidite, and ZrO2 in shocked zircon from Meteor Crater (Arizona, USA)." Geology 44 (9): 703-706.
- Erickson, T. M., A. Cavosie, M. A. Pearce, N. E. Timms, and S. M. Reddy. 2016. "Empirical constraints on shock features in monazite using shocked zircon inclusions." Geology 44 (8): 635-638.
- Valley, J. W., D. A. Reinhard, A. J. Cavosie, T. Ushikubo, D. F. Lawrence, D. J. Larson, T. F. Kelly, D. R. Snoeyenbos, and A. Strickland. 2015. "Presidential Address. Nano-and micro-geochronology in Hadean and Archean zircons by atom-probe tomography and SIMS: New tools for old minerals." American Mineralogist 100 (7): 1355-1377.
- Cavosie, A. J., T. Erickson, and N. E. Timms. 2015. "Nanoscale records of ancient shock deformation: Reidite (ZrSiO4) in sandstone at the Ordovician Rock Elm impact crater." Geology 43 (4): 315-318.
- Cavosie, A. J., T. Erickson, N. E. Timms, S. M. Reddy, C. Talavera, S. D. Montalvo, M. R. Pincus, R. J. Gibbon, and D. Moser. 2015. "A terrestrial perspective on using ex situ shocked zircons to date lunar impacts." Geology 43 (11): 999-1002.
- Thomson, O. A., A. J. Cavosie, D. E. Moser, I. Barker, H. A. Radovan, and B. M. French. 2014. "Preservation of detrital shocked minerals derived from the 1.85 Ga Sudbury impact structure in modern alluvium and Holocene glacial deposits." Bulletin Of The Geological Society Of America 126 (5-6): 720-737.
- Valley, J. W., A. J. Cavosie, T. Ushikubo, D. A. Reinhard, D. F. Lawrence, D. J. Larson, P. H. Clifton, T. F. Kelly, S. A. Wilde, D. E. Moser, and 1 more contributors. 2014. "Hadean age for a post-magma-ocean zircon confirmed by atom-probe tomography." Nature Geoscience 7: 219-223.
- Cavosie, A. J. 2014. "Reconciling early impacts and the rise of life." Geology 42 (5): 463-464.
- Erickson, T. M., A. J. Cavosie, D. E. Moser, I. R. Barker, H. A. Radovan, and J. Wooden. 2013. "Identification and provenance determination of distally transported, Vredefort-derived shocked minerals in the Vaal River, South Africa using SEM and SHRIMP-RG techniques." Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta 107: 170-188.
- Erickson, T. M., A. J. Cavosie, D. E. Moser, I. R. Barker, and H. A. Radovan. 2013. "Correlating planar microstructures in shocked zircon from the Vredefort Dome at multiple scales: Crystallographic modeling, external and internal imaging, and EBSD structural analysis." American Mineralogist 98 (1): 53-65.
- Bouvier, A. S., T. Ushikubo, N. T. Kita, A. J. Cavosie, R. Kozdon, and J. W. Valley. 2012. "Li isotopes and trace elements as a petrogenetic tracer in zircon: Insights from Archean TTGs and sanukitoids." Contributions To Mineralogy And Petrology 163 (5): 745-768.
- Cavosie, A. J., J. W. Valley, N. T. Kita, M. J. Spicuzza, T. Ushikubo, and S. A. Wilde. 2011. "The origin of high [delta]18O zircons: marbles, megacrysts, and metamorphism." Contribution to Mineralogy and Petrology 162: 961-974.
- Cavosie, A. J., R. R. Quintero, H. A. Radovan, and D. E. Moser. 2010. "A record of ancient cataclysm in modern sand: Shock microstructures in detrital minerals from the Vaal river, Vredefort Dome, South Africa." Bulletin of the Geological Society of America 122 (11-12): 1968-1980.
- Cavosie, A. J., N. T. Kita, and J. W. Valley. 2009. "Primitive oxygen-isotope ratio recorded in magmatic zircon from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge." American Mineralogist 94 (7): 926-934.
- Hofmann, A. E., J. W. Valley, E. B. Watson, A. J. Cavosie, and J. M. Eiler. 2009. "Sub-micron scale distributions of trace elements in zircon." Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 158 (3): 317-335.
- Fu, B., F. Z. Page, A. J. Cavosie, J. Fournelle, N. T. Kita, J. S. Lackey, S. A. Wilde, and J. W. Valley. 2008. "Ti-in-zircon thermometry: applications and limitations." Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 156: 197-215.
- Ushikubo, T., N. T. Kita, A. J. Cavosie, S. A. Wilde, R. L. Rudnick, and J. W. Valley. 2008. "Lithium in Jack Hills zircons: Evidence for extensive weathering of Earth's earliest crust." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 272: 666-676.
- Wilde, S. A., J. W. Vallly, N. T. Kita, A. J. Cavosie, and D. Liu. 2008. "SHRIMP U-Pb and CAMECA 1280 oxygen isotope results from ancient detrital zircons in the Caozhuang quartzite, Eastern Hebei, North China Craton: evidence for crustal recycling 3.8 Ga ago." American Journal of Science 308 (3): 185-199.
- Cavosie, A., J. Valley, and S. Wilde. 2007. "The Oldest Terrestrial Mineral Record: A Review of 4400 to 4000 Ma Detrital Zircons from Jack Hills, Western Australia." In Earth's Oldest Rocks 15., 91-111 Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.
- Utsunomiya, S., J. W. Valley, A. J. Cavosie, S. A. Wilde, and R. C. Ewing. 2007. "Radiation damage and alteration of zircon from a 3.3 Ga porphyritic granite from the Jack Hills, Western Australia." Chemical Geology 236: 92-111.
- Cavosie, A. J., J. W. Valley, and S. A. Wilde. 2006. "Correlated microanalysis of zircon: Trace element, gamma-18 O, and U-Th-Pb isotopic constraints on the igneous origin of complex >3900 Ma detrital grains." Geochemica Et Cosmochimica Acta 70: 5601-5616.
- Valley, J. W., A. J. Cavosie, B. Fu, W. H. Peck, and S. A. Wilde. 2006. "Comment on 'Heterogeneous Hadean Hafnium: Evidence of Continental Crust at 4.4 to 4.5 Ga'." Science 312
- Valley, J. W., J. S. Lackey, A. J. Cavosie, C. C. Clechenko, M. J. Spicuzza, M. A. S. Basei, I. N. Bindeman, V. P. Ferreira, A. N. Sial, E. M. King, and 3 more contributors. 2005. "4.4 billion years of crustal maturation: Oxygen isotope ratios of magmatic zircon." Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology 150 (6): 561-580.
- Cavosie, A. J., J. W. Valley, and S. A. Wilde. 2005. "Magmatic gamma-18 Oxygen in 4400-3900 Ma detrital zircons: A record of the alteration and recycling of crust in the Early Archean." Earth and Planetary Science Letters 235: 663-681.
- Sepahi, A. A., and A. Cavosie. 2005. "Constraints on isotope thermometry of quartz-aluminosilicate veins in the Hamadan region using oxygen stable isotopes." Iranian Journal of Crystallography and Mineralogy 13 (2): 201-212.
- Cavosie, A. J., S. A. Wilde, D. Y. Liu, P. W. Weiblen, and J. W. Valley. 2004. "Internal zoning and U-Th-Pb chemistry of Jack Hills detrital zircons: a mineral record of early Archean to Mesoproterozoic (4348-1576 Ma) magmatism." Precambrian Research 135: 251-279.
- Utsunomiya, S., C. S. Palenik, J. W. Valley, A. J. Cavosie, S. A. Wilde, and R. C. Ewing. 2004. "Nanoscale occurence of Pb in an Archean zircon." Geochemica Et Cosmochimica Acta 68 (22): 4679-4686.
- Cavosie, A., and J. Selverstone. 2003. "Early Proterozoic oceanic crust in the northern Colorado Front Range: Implications for crustal growth and initiation of basement faults." Tectonics 22 (2)
- Cavosie, A. J., Z. D. Sharp, and J. Selverstone. 2002. "Co-existing aluminum silicates in quartz veins: A quantitative approach for determining andalusite-sillimanite equilibrium in natural samples using oxygen isotopes." American Mineralogist 87 (4): 417-423.