Kim Knight

Staff Scientist
Nuclear and Chemical Sciences Division
Phone: +19254229396


  • Ph.D., Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, 2006
  • B.A., Geology, Carleton College, 1997

Research Interests

Kim Knight is a staff scientist at LLNL focused on nuclear forensic research. A geochemist by training, she remains endlessly fascinated with radioactive materials. Knight worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory prior to joining LLNL in 2008. Knight is primarily involved with the analysis of nuclear and associated materials to better understand clues about the origins, locations, or processes. She has been instrumental in the renaissance of historical fallout research to better understand fallout formation and interpretation in near surface nuclear events.

In addition to her own research, Knight mentors PhD students at the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She leads several international collaborative technical efforts in the area of fuel cycle nuclear forensics and has been involved in the design and delivery of many training courses in technical nuclear forensics and the development and revision of international guidelines as a participant in International Atomic Energy Agency consultancies and workshops.


  1. Bullock, E.S., K.B. Knight, F.M. Richter, N.T. Kita, T. Ushikubo, G.J. MacPherson, A.M. Davis, R.A. Mendybaev, "Mg and Si isotopic fractionation patterns in types B1 and B2 CAIs: Implications for formation under different nebular conditions", Meterotics & Planetary Science48:8, 1440-1458, 2013.
  2. Cassata, W.S., Prussin, S.G., Knight, K.B., Hutcheon, I.D., Isselhardt, B.H., Renne, P.R., "When the dust settles: Applications of noble gases to nuclear forensic research", J. Env. Rad., in review.
  3. Crowhurst, J.C., M.R. Armstrong, K.B. Knight, J.M. Zaug, E.M. Behymer "Invariance of the dissipative action at ultrahigh strain rates above the strong shock threshold", Physical Review Letters., 107 144302 1-5, 2011.
  4. Dai, Z., J.C. Crowhurst, C.D Grant, K.B. Knight, V. Tang, A.A. Chernov, E.G. Cook, L.P. Lotscher, I.D. Hutcheon, "Exploring high temperature phenomena related to post-detonation by an electric arc", Journal of Applied Physics114, 204901, LLNL-JRNL-608092, 2013.
  5. Davis, A.M., N.T. Kita, T Ushikubo, G.J. MacPherson, E.S. Bullock, K.B. Knight. "Magnesium Isotopic Evolution of CAIs", 41st Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 2010.
  6. Eppich, G., K.B. Knight, T.W. Jacomb-Hood, I.D. Hutcheon, G.D. Spriggs, "Actinide (U-Th-Pa) concentrations and isotopic disequilibrium in surface soils and glassy fallout beads from historical nuclear tests", Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management, 2013.
  7. Hutcheon, I.D., M.J. Kristo, K.B. Knight, "Nonproliferation Nuclear Forensics", Uranium – Cradle to Grave, Mineralogical Association of Canada, 377-394, 2013.
  8. Isselhardt, B.H., M.R. Savina, K.B. Knight, M.J. Pellin, I.D. Hutcheon, S.G. Prussin, "Improving Precision in Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry: Influence of Laser Bandwidth in Uranium Isotope Ratio Measurements", Analytical Chemistry83, 2469–2475, 2011.
  9. Isselhardt, B.H., D.G. Willingham, M.R. Savina, K.B. Knight, I.D. Hutcheon, "Progress in the Development of RIMS for Quantifying Actinide Isotope Ratios for Nuclear Forensics Applications", Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management, 2013.
  10. Kita, N.T., T. Ushikubo, K.B. Knight, R.A. Mendybaev, A.M. Davis, F.M. Richter, J. Fournelle, "Internal 26Al-26Mg isotope systematics of a type B CAI: Remelting of refractory precursor solids", Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta86, 37-51, 2012.
  11. Kita, N.T., T. Ushikubo, A.M. Davis, K.B. Knight, R.A. Mendybaev, F.M. Richter, J.H. Fournelle. "Initial 26Al Abundance in a Type B CAI: Remelting of Pre-Existing Refractory Solid", 41st Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 2010.
  12. Knight, K.B., Argon Geochronology: I. Applied 40Ar/39Ar Methods to the Chronology of Large Igneous Provinces II. Development of Cosmogenic Argon Methods for Terrestrial Chronology University of California, Berkeley, Ph.D. thesis, 2006.
  13. Knight, K.B., N.T. Kita, A.M. Davis, F.M. Richter, R.A. Mendybaev. "Mg and Si Isotope Fractionation Within Three Type B Ca-Al-Rich Inclusions", 40th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, XXXX, 2009.
  14. Knight, K.B., N. Kita, R.A. Mendybaev, F. Richter, A.M. Davis, J.W. Valley, "Si isotope fractionation of CAI-like vacuum evaporation residues", Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 73, 6390, 2009.
  15. Knight, K.B., S. Nomade, P.R. Renne, A. Marzoli, H. Bertrand and N. Youbi, The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary: paleomagnetic and 40Ar/39Ar evidence for brief, episodic volcanism. Earth and Planetary Science Letters228, 143-160, 2004.
  16. Knight, K.B., P.R. Renne, J. Baker, T. Waight, N. White, Reply to '40Ar/39Ar dating of the Rajahmundry Traps, Eastern India and their relationship to the Deccan Traps: Discussion' by A.K. Baksi. Earth and Planetary Science Letters239, 374-382, 2005.
  17. Knight, K.B., P.R. Renne, A. Halkett, N. White, 40Ar/39Ar dating of the Rajahmundry Traps, Eastern India and their relationship to the Deccan Traps. Earth and Planetary Science Letters208, 85-99, 2002.
  18. Knight, K.B., M.R. Savina, B.H. Isselhardt, I.D. Hutcheon, S.G. Prussin, M.J. Pellin, "Uranium Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry in Natural U-silicate", Proceedings Radiochimimca Acta, 1, 37-43, 2011.
  19. Knight, K.B., M.R. Savina, S.G. Prussin, I.D. Hutcheon, "Multi-Actinide Isotopic Measurements from a Single Sample by Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry", Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management, 2011.
  20. Knight, K.B., S.R. Sutton, M. Newville, A.M. Davis, N. Dauphas, R.S. Lewis, S. Amari, I.M. Steele, M.R. Savina, M.J. Pellin, "Trace element determinations in presolar SiC grains by synchrotron X-Ray fluorescence: Commencement of a coordinated multimethod study", 39th Annual Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf., 2008.
  21. Knight, K.B., E.S. Vergino, O. Gaidar, D.V. Kutniy, G.V. Lysychenko, I.A. Malyuk, A.A. Valter "Strengthening International Nuclear Forensic Capabilities through Collaborative Science in Ukraine", Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Institute for Nuclear Materials Management, 2011.
  22. Levine, J., M.R. Savina, N. Dauphas, A.M. Davis, B.H. Isselhardt, K.B. Knight, R.S. Lewis, M.J. Pellin, T. Stephan. "First Four-Isotope Measurements of Chromium in Presolar SiC Grains", 40th Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 2009.
  23. Levine, J., M.R. Savina, T. Stephan, N. Dauphas, A.M. Davis, K.B. Knight, M.J. Pellin, "Resonance ionization mass spectrometry for precise measurements of isotope ratios", International Journal of Mass Spectrometry 288, 36-43, 200.
  24. Marzolli, A., H. Bertrand, K.B. Knight, S. Cirilli, C. Vérati, S. Nomade, R. Martini, N. Youbi, K. Allenbach, R. Neuwerth, N. Buratti, C. Rapaille, L. Zaninetti, G. Bellieni and P.R. Renne, Synchrony of the Central Atlantic magmatic province and the Triassic-Jurassic boundary climatic and biotic crisis. Geology32, 973-976, 2004.
  25. Marzoli, A., H. Bertrand, K.B. Knight, S. Cirilli, S. Nomade, P.R. Renne, C. Vérati, N. Youbi, R. Martini, G. Bellieni, 2008. Comment on "Synchrony between the Central Atlantic magmatic province and the Triassic-Jurassic mass-extinction event?" by Whiteside et al. 2007 Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology262:3-4, 189-193, 2008.
  26. Nomade, S., K.B. Knight, E. Beutel, P. R. Renne, C. Vérati, G. Féraud, A. Marzoli, N. Youbi, H. Bertrand, Chronology of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province: Implications for the Central Atlantic rifting processes and the Triassic-Jurassic biotic crisis. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology244, 326-344, 2008.
  27. Renne, P.R., J.M. Feinberg, M.R. Waters, J. Arroyo-Cabrales, P. Ochoa-Castillo, M. Perez-Campa, K.B. Knight, Geochronology: Age of Mexican ash with alleged 'footprints' Nature438, E7-E8, 2005.
  28. Renne, P.R., K.B. Knight, S. Nomade, K. Leung, T. Lou, Application of a Deuteron-Deuteron (D-D) Fusion Neutron Generator to 40Ar/39Ar Geochronology. Applied Radiation and Isotopes62, 25-32, 2005.
  29. Riisager P., K.B. Knight, J.A. Baker, I. Ukstins Peate, M. Al-Kadasi, A. Al-Subbary, P.R. Renne, Paleomagnetism and 40Ar/39Ar Geochronology of Yemeni Oligocene volcanics: Implications for timing and duration of Afro-Arabian traps and geometry of the Oligocene paleomagnetic field. Earth and Planetary Science Letters237, 647-672, 2005.
  30. Riley, T.R. and K.B. Knight, Age of pre-break-up Gondwana magmatism. Antarctic Science13(2), 99-110, 2001.
  31. Savina, M.R., J. Levine, T. Stephan, N. Dauphas, A.M. Davis, K.B. Knight, M.J. Pellin. "Chromium Isotopes In Presolar SiC Grains", 41st Annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 2010.
  32. Spriggs, G.S., K.B. Knight, R. Gostic, "Characterization of Activity-Size-Distribution of Nuclear Fallout", Stockpile Stewardship Quarterly 2:1, 3-4, 2012.
  33. Ukstins Peate, I., J.A. Baker, M. Al-Kadasi, A. Al-Subbary, K.B. Knight, P. Riisager, M.F. Thirlwall, D.W. Peate, P.R. Renne, M.A. Menzies, Volcanic stratigrpahy of large-volume silicic pyroclastic eruptions during Oligocene Afro-Aerabian flood volcanism in Yemen. Bull Volcanology68, 135-156, 2005.
  34. Willingham, D., M.R. Savina, K.B. Knight, M.J. Pellin, I.D. Hutcheon, "RIMS Analysis of Ion Induced Fragmentation of Molecules Sputtered from an Enriched U3O8 Matrix", Journal of Radioanalytical Nuclear Chemistry, DOI 10.1007/s10967-012-2028-z, 2012.