Cornelia Rasmussen

Cornelia  Rasmussen
Research Associate, Institute for Geophysics, Jackson School of Geosciences

Office: ROC
Mailcode: R2200

Dr. Rasmussen is a geoscientist with a strong focus on planetary habitability, paleoecology, and geobiology. She also has a strong interest in developing new methods, particularly in the area of position-specific isotope analysis of biomarkers.

Her specific research projects are investigating:

1) How extreme events and climate conditions such as hothouse worlds shape different ecosystems across different paleolatitudes, and how we can robustly identify and track the timing and tempo of environmental change and ecosystem recovery on a global scale. Publication:

2) How the organic carbon isotope record can be employed to reconstruct environmental and atmospheric conditions as well as in the detection of biotic activity. In particular, she is testing hypotheses about how the intramolecular isotope fingerprint preserved within organic carbon molecules reflect species and synthesis specific information along with environmental context. Publication:

3) How extraordinary environments and events, such as (impact induced) hydrothermal systems create habitats or even a cradle for life and, hence, create opportunities for habitability throughout Earth history but also on other planetary bodies. Publication:

Stable isotope analysis: Dr. Rasmussen training includes traditional IRMS for bulk organic carbon, carbonate carbon and oxygen isotopes. She is also developing new methods for position-specific isotope analysis (PSIA) of biomarkers and organic carbon via nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).

Radiogenic isotopes: Zircon U-Pb (LA-ICP-MS, CA-TIMS, and thermochronology).

Field science: Dr. Rasmussen also has extensive training as a sedimentologist, through her participation in two large drilling campaigns (Colorado Plateau Coring Project, IODP Expedition 364, Chicxulub impact crater) and also in the field (e.g., Southwestern North America, East Africa). Furthermore, she has experience with high resolution microscopy (SEM, CL- and EBSD mapping).

Areas of Expertise

Paleoecology, geobiology, geochemistry, geochronology, sedimentology

Committee Member, UTIG Code of Conduct, (2020 - Present)

Executive Committee Member, Center for Planetary Systems Habitability, (2019 - Present)

Principal Team Member, UT Pop-Up Institute: Planetary Habitability (2018)