Chi Ma
Director, GPS Division Analytical Facility

Ph.D. (ANU)
Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Caltech, MC 170-25, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA

chima [AT]
626 395 6253 (office: B151 Arms)
626 395 6126 (lab: B150 Arms)

Research Interests: Nanomineralogy; discovery of new minerals and new materials representing extreme conditions of formation.

With high-resolution analytical scanning electron microscopy, we are now capable to characterize solid materials easier and faster down to nano-scales. During an ongoing nanomineralogy investigation of Earth and planetary materials, which I have been leading since 2006, 60 new minerals have been discovered. 12 of them are shock-induced, high-pressure minerals, including bridgmanite (the most abundant mineral in Earth). 20 are from the Allende meteorite, including refractory minerals like panguite, kangite, and allendeite, which are among first solids formed in our solar system. About 50+ refractory minerals plus ~20 presolar minerals mark the beginning of solar mineral evolution at 4.567 billion years ago. There are about 6000 minerals identified, mostly from Earth.

Honors: Fellow of the Mineralogical Society of America (2017); Fellow of the Meteoritical Society (2024); Machiite (Al2Ti3O9; IMA 2016-067), a refractory mineral from the solar nebula, named after Ma, Chi.

Finding New Minerals: from Earth to Mars and the Solar Nebula

IMA 2006-040, Barioperovskite, BaTiO3, in benitoite from California
IMA 2007-027, Allendeite, Sc4Zr3O12, from Allende meteorite
IMA 2007-029, Hexamolybdenum, (Mo,Ru,Fe), from Allende
IMA 2007-033, Monipite, MoNiP, from Allende
IMA 2008-016, Tistarite, Ti2O3, from Allende
IMA 2008-030, Davisite, CaScAlSiO6, from Allende
IMA 2008-042, Grossmanite, CaTi3+AlSiO6, from Allende
IMA 2009-027, Hibonite-(Fe), (Fe,Mg)Al12O19, from Allende
IMA 2010-003, Murchisite, Cr5S6, from Murchison meteorite
IMA 2010-038, Krotite, CaAl2O4, from a CV3 meteorite
IMA 2010-057, Panguite, (Ti,Al,Sc,Mg,Zr,Ca)1.8O3, from Allende
IMA 2010-062, Brearleyite, Ca12Al14O32Cl2, from a CV3 meteorite
IMA 2011-070, Buseckite, (Fe,Zn,Mn)S, from Zaklodzie
IMA 2011-092, Kangite, (Sc,Ti,Al,Zr,Mg,Ca,[])2O3, from Allende
IMA 2012-008, Browneite, MnS, from Zaklodzie
IMA 2012-079, Majindeite, Mg2Mo3O8, from Allende
IMA 2013-018, Nuwaite, Ni6GeS2, from Allende
IMA 2013-027, Tissintite, (Ca,Na,[])AlSi2O6, from Mars
IMA 2013-028, Ahrensite, Fe2SiO4, from Mars
IMA 2013-029, Hutcheonite, Ca3Ti2(SiAl2)O12, from Allende
IMA 2013-053, Paqueite, Ca3TiSi2(Al2Ti)O14, from Allende
IMA 2013-054, Burnettite, CaVAlSiO6, from Allende
IMA 2013-128, Liebermannite, KAlSi3O8, from Mars
IMA 2013-129, Warkite, Ca2Sc6Al6O20, from Murchison and Vigarano
IMA 2014-017, Bridgmanite, (Mg,Fe)SiO3, from Tenham (news)
IMA 2014-028, Adrianite, Ca12(Al4Mg3Si7)O32Cl6, from Allende
IMA 2014-029, Cortesognoite, CaV2Si2O7(OH)2H2O, from Italy
IMA 2015-001, Beckettite, Ca2V6Al6O20, from Allende
IMA 2015-006, Addibischoffite, Ca2Al6Al6O20, from a CH meteorite
IMA 2015-022a, Zagamiite, CaAl2Si3.5O11, from Mars
IMA 2015-049, Joegoldsteinite, MnCr2S4, from a meteorite
IMA 2015-110a, Riesite, TiO2, from Ries
IMA 2016-028, Butianite, Ni6SnS2, from Allende
IMA 2016-033, Stolperite, AlCu, from Khatyrka
IMA 2016-034, Hollisterite, Al3Fe, from Khatyrka
IMA 2016-062, Kryachkoite, (Al,Cu)6(Fe,Cu), from Khatyrka
IMA 2016-110, Rubinite, Ca3Ti3+2Si3O12, from Allende and Vigarano
IMA 2017-029, Ice-VII, H2O, in diamonds, led by O. Tschauner
IMA 2017-032a, Tschaunerite, (Fe2+)(Fe2+Ti4+)O4, from Mars
IMA 2017-036, Chenmingite, FeCr2O4, from Mars
IMA 2017-041a, Feiite, (Fe2+2)(Fe2+Ti4+)O5, from Mars
IMA 2017-042a, Liuite, FeTiO3, from Mars
IMA 2017-062, Stöfflerite, CaAl2Si2O8, from Mars
IMA 2017-078a, Kaitianite, Ti3+2Ti4+O5, from Allende
IMA 2018-068, Carletonmooreite, Ni3Si, led by L. Garvie
IMA 2018-086a, Edscottite, Fe5C2, from an iron meteorite
IMA 2018-110, Nickeltyrrellite, CuNi2Se4, led by H.-J. Förster
IMA 2019-016a, Tartarosite, C, led by O. Tschauner
IMA 2019-046, Johnkoivulaite, Cs[Be2B]Mg2Si6O18, led by A. Palke
IMA 2019-111, Tilkerodeite, Pd2HgSe3
IMA 2020-070, Zolenskyite, FeCr2S4, from a meteorite
IMA 2021-061, Colomeraite, NaTi3+Si2O6, from a meteorite
IMA 2021-110, Griffinite, Al2TiO5
IMA 2021-111, Magnéliite, Ti3+2Ti4+2O7
IMA 2022-013, Ziroite, ZrO2
IMA 2022-014, Sassite, Ti3+2Ti4+O5
IMA 2022-024, Louisfuchsite, Ca2(Mg4Ti2)(Al4Si2)O20, from a meteorite
IMA 2022-027, Mizraite-(Ce), Ce(Al11Mg)O19
IMA 2022-036, Toledoite, TiFeSi
IMA 2022-079, Yeite, TiSi
IMA 2022-087, Elaliite, (Fe2+8Fe3+)(PO4)O8, led by C. Herd
IMA 2022-088, Elkinstantonite, Fe4(PO4)2O, led by C. Herd
IMA 2022-100, Olsenite, KFe4(PO4)3, from El Ali meteorite
IMA 2023-057, Jianmuite, ZrTi4+Ti3+5Al3O16, from Allende
(Approved by IMA-CNMNC) [Mineral Names]

In the Media: Caltech News, IFLSci (2023); PHYS, Forbes, NatGeo (2022); CNN, Newsweek, Smithsonian (2019); SCI (2018); PHYS, Caltech News, PSRD (2017); PHYS (2016); Eng&Sci (2015); AGU, NBC, NatGeo, Forbes, Caltech News (2014); PSRD (2013); Caltech News, LiveScience, Wired (2012); NatGeo (2011); Eng&Sci (2007)