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Department of Mineral Sciences

Izalco Volcano

  • Timothy McCoy
  • Geologist - Curator-in-Charge, Meteorite Collection
  • Phone:   (202) 633-2206
  • Fax:   (202) 357-2476
  • E-mail Address:   mccoyt atsiedu
  • Mailing Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    PO Box 37012, MRC 119
    Washington, DC 20013-7012
  • Shipping Address:
    Smithsonian Institution
    National Museum of Natural History
    10th & Constitution NW
    Washington, DC 20560-0119

Education and Information


Research Interests

My research is focused on using meteorites as a tool to understand the origin and evolution of their parent bodies, namely asteroids and Mars. My major focus has been understanding the detailed melting and differentiation of asteroids in the early history of the Solar System to ultimately unravel the origin of differentiated worlds like Earth. I both examine the mineralogy, chemistry and texture of meteorites (petrology) and reproduce these textures and compositions during high-temperature crystallization experiments. My work is highly collaborative with colleagues using age dating, oxygen isotopic analyses, noble gases and a wide range of other techniques to gain a comprehensive overview of the problem. Read more about research »

Education and Outreach

Science and indigenous cultures can be seen as diametrically opposed viewpoints in understanding our world. Yet, they share many commonalities. Both are ways of interpreting our world based on direct observations, either over a short period of time to test a specific hypothesis for science or extended over many generations and passed through stories for indigenous cultures. The overlap is particularly strong for planetary science, where observations are interpreted in the context of place. Geologic observations on planets are interpreted in the context of processes deciphered from Earth, while indigenous communities have embedded in their cultures and languages viewpoints forged from a strong sense of place. For the past two and a half years, we have worked within the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma to examine the overlap between science (specifically planetary science, geology, and astronomy) and traditional ways of knowing derived from myaamia culture. We have conducted a day and a half workshop in 2007 and a 5 day summer camp in 2008 for tribal youth.   Read more about outreach »

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