Donald J. DePaolo

Professor and Isotopic Geochemist
Associate Laboratory Director for Energy Sciences
Building 084, Room 0322
Phone: 510-486-7560
Fax: 510-486-7714
Curriculum Vitae


Alt. Phone: 510-643-5064

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.