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Department of Mineral Sciences

Izalco Volcano

  • Sorena S. Sorensen
  • Curator Emeritus
  • Phone:   (202) 633-1820
  • Fax:   (202) 357-2476
  • E-mail Address:   sorensen 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

  • Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles (1984)
  • B.A. Pomona College (1978)
  • Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

Sorena Svea Sorensen received a BA in geology from Pomona College in 1978, a geology PhD from UCLA in 1984. She joined the staff of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution later that year.

Most of Sorena's research concerns fluid-rock interactions within the crust of convergent margins. She studies the effects of fluids on rocks by means of field work and a variety of geochemical analytical methods, especially cathodoluminesence imaging and trace element determinations. She has a secondary interest in mineral chemistry, and is an authority on both rare-earth-element-rich epidote minerals (i.e., allanite) and jadeitite, the gem variety of jade. During the past 10 years, Sorena has received research support from the Sprague and Becker Funds of the Smithsonian Institution, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation. Her research was covered in August 2006 by Geotimes, the magazine of the American Geological Institute.

During her career, Sorena has conducted field programs in California, Nevada, Washington State, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Burma, and Guatemala. She was the US editor for metamorphic petrology for the Journal of Petrology from 1994 to 2000, and currently serves on that journal’s advisory board. She has been on the Editorial Review Board of the Journal of Metamorphic Geology since 1993.

Sorena has served as a Distinguished Lecturer and a Councilor of the Mineralogical Society of America (MSA), and is a fellow of both MSA and the Geological Society of America. She has also served as councilor, secretary, vice president and president of the Geological Society of Washington, and councilor, treasurer and chair of the National Museum of Natural History’s Senate of Scientists.

Since 1988, Sorena has been the Curator-In-Charge of the Smithsonian's Rock and Ore Collections, and from 1989 to 1998 she was one of five curators of the Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals. She helped to edit the Dorling Kindersley book entitled "Earth," and she provided content and edited the "Rocks" module of the GGM website. She was appointed both an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Maryland and a Research Associate of the American Museum of Natural History in 2001.

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