Christine Yifeng Chen

Postdoctoral Researcher
Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division
Phone: +19254228008

Curriculum Vitae (CV) | Google Scholar | ORCiD Profile | Twitter


  • Ph.D., Geology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Joint Program, 2019
  • B.A., Geosciences, summa cum laude, Princeton University, 2013


Christine Y. Chen is a geologist and geochemist broadly interested in applications of radiochronometry to terrestrial paleoclimatology and nuclear forensics. Chen joined the Chemical and Isotopic Signatures group within the Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division in 2021. At LLNL, she is developing radiochronometry methods for nuclear materials and investigating radiogenic isotope fractionation processes in the nuclear fuel cycle.

Prior to joining LLNL, she was the O.K. Earl Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences at Caltech. Chen's dissertation research focused on applications of uranium-series geochronology to lacustrine carbonates to reconstruct past changes in Earth's hydrological cycle. This work involved field mapping and characterization of paleoshorelines and porous carbonate build-ups called tufas, which she conducted in the desert drylands of the western United States and central Andes.

Research Interests

Uranium-series geochronology, radiochronometry, lacustrine carbonates (tufas), paleohydrology, paleoclimatology, nuclear forensics, isotope geochemistry, mass spectrometry

Selected Honors and Awards

  • O.K. Earl Postdoctoral Fellowship, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, Caltech, 2019
  • Larry G. Benedict Leadership Institute Award, MIT, 2019
  • Wellington and Irene Loh Fund Fellowship, MIT Office of Graduate Education, 2017
  • Charles A. & June R.P. Ross Research Award, Geological Society of America (GSA), 2016
  • Farouk El-Baz Student Research Grant for Desert Research, GSA, 2016
  • Mamont Scholar Exploration Fund, The Explorers Club, 2016
  • Lewis and Clark Field Research Grant, American Philosophical Society, 2016
  • Award for Excellence in Teaching, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, MIT, 2016
  • National Geographic Society Young Explorers Grant, 2015
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2013–2018
  • Princeton Arthur F. Buddington Award, 2013
  • Princeton Benjamin F. Howell Junior Independent Work Prize, 2012

Selected Media Highlights

Current Leadership and Public Engagement Activities

  • Co-founder, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Geosciences (AAPIiG), 2020–present
  • Contributer and co-organizer of GeoContext, 2020–present


(9) De Cort, G., Chevalier, M., Burrough, S., Chen, C.Y., Harrison, S.P. (2021) An uncertainty-focused database approach to extract spatiotemporal trends from qualitative and discontinuous lake-status histories. Quaternary Science Reviews. 253:107870. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2021.106870

(8) Cooperdock, E.H.C., Chen, C.Y., Metcalf, J.R., Guevara, V.E. (2021) Counteracting Systemic Bias in the Lab, Field, and Classroom. AGU Advances. 2, e2020AV000353. doi: 10.1029/2020AV000353

(7) Woods, A., Rodbell, D.T., Abbott, M.B., Hatfield, R.G., Chen, C.Y., Lehmann, S.B., McGee, D., Weidhaas, N.C., Tapia, P.M., Valero-Garcés, B.L., Bush, M.B., Stoner, J.S. (2020) Abrupt Arctic Warming Repeatedly Led to Glacial Retreat and Drought in the Eastern Tropical Andes During the Last Glacial Cycle. Nature Communications, 11, 5135. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-19000-8

(6) Chen, C.Y., McGee, D., et al. (2020) U-Th dating of lake sediments: Lessons from the 700 ka sediment record of Lake Junín, Peru. Quaternary Science Reviews, 244:106422. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2020.106422 (Invited research article.)

(5) Hatfield, R.G., Stoner, J.S., Solada, K., Morey, A.E., Woods, A., Chen, C.Y., McGee, D., Abbott, M.B., Rodbell, D.T. (2020) Paleomagnetic constraint of the Brunhes age sedimentary record from Lake Junín, Peru. Front. Earth Sci. 8:147. doi: 10.3389/feart.2020.00147

(4) Austermann, J., Chen, C.Y., Lau, H.C.P., Maloof, A.C., Latychev, K. (2020) Constraints on mantle viscosity and Laurentide ice sheet evolution from pluvial paleolake shorelines in the western United States. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 532:116006. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.116006

(3) Hatfield, R.G, Woods, A., Lehmann, S.B., Weidhaas IV, N., Chen, C.Y., Kück, J., Pierdominici, S., Stoner ,J.S., Abbott, M.B., Rodbell, D.T. (2019) Stratigraphic correlation and splice generation for sediments recovered from a large-lake drilling project: an example from Lake Junín, Peru. Journal of Paleolimnology, 1–18. doi: 10.1007/s10933-019-00098-w

(2) Chen, C.Y., Maloof, A.C. (2017) Revisiting the deformed high shoreline of Lake Bonneville. Quaternary Science Reviews, 159, 169–189. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.12.019

(1) Husson, J.M., Maloof, A.C., Schoene, B., Chen, C.Y., Higgins, J.A. (2015) Stratigraphic expression of Earth’s deepest δ13C excursion in the Wonoka Formation of South Australia. American Journal of Science, 315, 1–45. doi: 10.2475/01.2015.01