Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Donald J. DePaolo

Donald DePaolo Portrait

Donald J. DePaolo

Associate Lab Director for Energy and Environmental Sciences, LBNL

Director of Center for Isotope Geochemistry, LBNL/UCB

Director, Center for Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2, EFRC

Geochemistry Department

Phone: 510-486-7560

Fax: 510-486-7714

Alt. Phone: 510-643-5064


Biographical Summary

DePaolo began his term in Berkeley in 1988 as a UC Berkeley Professor of Geochemistry in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science, with a joint appointment in the Earth Sciences Division at Berkeley Lab. DePaolo established and directs the Center for Isotope Geochemistry, a joint research facility between Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley. DePaolo is also the Class of 1951 Professor of Geochemistry in UC Berkeley’s Department of Earth and Planetary Science. DePaolo was officially announced as the Earth Sciences Division Director in 2007. Prior to this appointment, DePaolo held the Geochemistry Department Head role in the Earth Sciences Division. 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.

Research Interests

DePaolo's research interests focus on using naturally occurring isotopes to explore questions such as

  • origin of the deep-source Hawaiian plume and other hotspots and theories on mantle dynamics
  • tracking fluids moving through groundwater systems, with application to tracing contaminants
  • understanding isotopic fractionation of molten materials
  • magma chamber processes and life cycles of volcanoes
  • isotopic evidence that may lead to detecting life on other planets
  • chronology studies of of both difficult-to-date young volcanic rocks and ancient continental rocks
  • isotopic composition of old ocean sediments, with implications for climate shifts


B.S. with Honors (Geology), SUNY Binghamton, 1973

Ph.D. (Geology, minor in Chemistry), California Institute of Technology, 1978

Special Awards and Honors

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

1978 F.W. Clarke Medal, Geochemical Society

Other Websites

Center for Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2 (EFRC)

UC Berkeley, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

UC/LBNL, Earth Sciences Division, Center of Isotope Geochemistry