Curator (Meteorites)
Chair, Division of Physical Sciences
Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences
The American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th St.
New York NY 10024-5192
phone: (212) 769-5381
fax: (212) 769-5533
email: (this page)
Press Photo

Meteorites on Display
Teaching Resources

modeling rock condensation
Lunar Spherules-3D
Meteorites in 2D + 3D
sulfides + sulfosalts
pdf version of CV


The Museum
Ross Hall of Meteorites
Educator's Guides to the Hall
Meteorite Collection
Earth and Planetary Sci.
Department of Astrophysics
Education: MAT Program
REU Program
To apply for Post-doctoral Fellowships, or Graduate Fellowships, in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, please go to this website: RGGS FELLOWSHIPS. To apply for the AMNN Physical Sciences REU program, please go here: REU APPS
Meteorites are pieces of planets, or samples of the material 'left over' from formation of the sun and planets, over four and a half billion years ago. They are clues to the origin of our solar system and planetary systems around other stars. I am a geologist specializing in the study of extraterrestrial rocks and cosmochemistry.

I serve as the curator of the AMNH meteorite collection. AMNH affiliates, students, and I use the collection to understand early solar system processes such as planet formation. Our larger mission is to make meteorite samples available for research by scientists throughout the world. Collections-based research is vital to the exploration of space and a better understanding of our origins.
(2004 Ebel white paper) Meteorites, Asteroids, Planets, and the Exploration Vision Strategy
(2015 CAPTEM white paper) Astromaterials Research in Planetary R&A

Public outreach, teacher training, and education are part of the Museum's core mission. In 2003, I served as lead curator in reimagining the Museum's magnificent Arthur Ross Hall of Meteorites.
The Muesuem has initiated a new, pilot Master's of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program to strengthen Regents-level Earth Science teaching in New York State. I serve a lead role in this effort.

One focus of my research is modeling how gas, solid, and melt phases interact at high temperatures and low pressures, to understand the formation of the first solids, and molten (liquid) rock droplets in the solar system, which eventually led to the accretion of the planets. CONDENSATION
We also apply x-ray CT-scanning and microscopic imaging to meteorites to get 2 and 3-dimensional images of how they are put together. Check these links to see meteorites in a whole new light: TOMOGRAPHY (3D) and PETROGRAPHY (2D)

My research career began with investigations of how silver, copper, nickel and platinum-group metal ores form in the Earth. By seeing how sulfide minerals react in the laboratory, I was able to model their thermodynamic properties, and develop predictive tools to find metal-rich rock in existing mines. Some of this work is introduced here: MAGMATIC SULFIDES and HYDROTHERMAL SULFOSALTS

Contact Information...................................................
Dr. Denton S. Ebel

Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
phone: (212) 769-5381
The American Museum of Natural History
fax: (212) 769-5533
Central Park West @ 79th Street.
New York NY 10024-5192


Press Photo Field Photo Lab Photo
Press Photo: This photo was taken in 2003. The meteorite is the main mass of Johnstown (HED), now on display in the Ross Hall of Meteorites. (Photo credit: Rod Mickens, AMNH)
Field Photo: This photo is from a trip in 1999 to England, to collect supergene lead (Pb) minerals, such as pyromorphite, at ancient Pb-Zn mines. When Pb-acid batteries go bad, it is because of the formation of extremely fine-grained Pb-hydroxide minerals. A better understanding of these minerals, their identity and structure and how they form, could lead to better, longer-lasting batteries. From the larger size crystals of these kinds of minerals, which we hoped to find at these mines, colleagues Ian Steele and Joe Pluth could determine crystal compositions and structures. I just went along for the fun of it, and to carry rocks. (Photo credit: Ed Olsen)
Lab Photo: This photo was taken at the GSECARS beamline 13, Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Lab (DOE). The optics table holds tomography apparatus circa 2004. X-ray beam from the synchrotron enters from the left. (Photo process credit: Chris Ebel) High-resolution TIFF version (4 MB)
Press Photo (top): This photo was taken in 2010. The meteorite in the background is a Cape York iron, on display in the Ross Hall of Meteorites. (Photo credit: Rod Mickens, AMNH)

Links of interest:
Sorby Natural History Society, Sheffield UK
Meteoritical Society

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Last modified July 6, 2018.