Zachary A. Torrano
Carnegie Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests

Cosmochemistry; Geochemistry; Meteorites; Planetary Science, Isotopes

Academics

B.S., Environmental Geosciences, University of Notre Dame, 2015
Ph.D., Geological Sciences, Arizona State University, 2020

Contact & Links

Overview

Zack Torrano studies the isotopic compositions of meteorites with the goal of improving our understanding of our Solar System’s formation and evolution. At the Earth and Planets Laboratory, he works with Dr. Rick Carlson to measure nucleosynthetic isotopic anomalies in meteorites and uses these data to identify the nucleosynthetic sources of material inherited by the protoplanetary disk during Solar System formation, assess the degree of mixing in the protoplanetary disk, and evaluate the timing of these early Solar System processes. The results of this work will improve our understanding of our Solar System’s evolution from the collapse of the molecular cloud to the formation of planetary bodies.

Zack is particularly interested in the study of calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) that are found in chondritic meteorites. CAIs are the earliest-dated solids formed in the Solar System and they record and preserve a snapshot of the earliest stage of Solar System formation. By studying their isotopic compositions, we can identify the nucleosynthetic sources that contributed material to the early Solar System and assess the degree of isotopic heterogeneity present at that time. Zack’s work includes chemical separation by column chromatography and isotopic analyses using multicollector inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (MC-ICPMS) and thermal ionization mass spectrometry (TIMS).  

Prior to joining the Earth and Planets Laboratory, Zack received his PhD from Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration where he was advised by Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa. In 2019, he received a Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology (FINESST) grant to fund his dissertation research. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 2015