Tasha L. Dunn

Associate Professor of Geology

Office: S G Mudd 211 [ campus map ]
Phone: 207-859-5808
Fax: 207-859-5868
Office Hours:
M & Th 2-4 pm
Dunn, Tasha L.


PhD. in Geology - University of Tennessee, 2008
M.S.in Geology - University of Tennessee, 2005
B.S. in Geology - Tulane University, 2000

Areas of Expertise

  • meteorites
  • asteroids
  • solar system
  • minerals
  • rocks

Courses Currently Teaching

CourseCourse Title
GE125 AFrom Stardust to Planets
GE228 AEarth Materials

Other Courses Taught

CourseCourse Title
GE332Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
GE141Earth and the Environment
GE 381Planetary Geology
GE 494Senior Capstone
GE 225Mineralogy

Professional Information

Though most Geologists study the Earth, my interests lie elsewhere. Growing up I was fascinated by the outer space. As an undergraduate student at Tulane University I discovered Geology – the best discipline of all sciences! After working for a few years in environmental consulting , I returned to graduate school at the University of Tennessee. There I combined my interests in the solar system and geology to study planetary geology. My research focuses on the mineralogy and chemistry of primitive meteorites and asteroids. After graduating from the University of Tennessee, I worked as an Assistant Professor at Illinois State University for almost six years. I’ve been at Colby College since January of 2014. My biggest claim to fame is that I have an asteroid named after me. You can search for asteroid (8999) tashadunn on the Minor Planet Center website.

Current Research

My research focuses on understanding the evolution of small planetary bodies, primarily primitive (unmelted) asteroids. Specifically, I study the thermal evolution of these objects to better understand the conditions under which our solar system formed. Because asteroids reside in outer space and cannot be directly sampled, they must be studied either by using remote sensing techniques (e.g., Earth-based telescopes or spacecraft instruments) or through laboratory analyses of meteorites (pieces of asteroids that have fallen to Earth). As a geologist, my passion lies in traditional laboratory analyses of planetary materials. However, as a planetary scientist, I am keenly aware of the critical role that remote sensing plays in solar-system research. Thus, I incorporate both methods into my research. I often combine the two approaches to make linkages between meteorites and their parent asteroids, and to improve remote sensing techniques. Combining these techniques allows for better interpretation of asteroid surface compositions.


*denotes Colby student co-author
Dunn T.L., *Battifarano O.K., Gross J., and *O'Hara E.J. (2018) Characterization of matrix material in Northwest Africa 5343: Weathering and thermal metamorphism of the least equilibrated CK chondrite. Meteoritics and Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.13118
Binzel, F.E., DeMeo F.E., Burt, B.J., Slivan S., Lantz C., Bus S.J., Tokunaga A., Burlan B., Carry B., Rivkin A.S., Burbine T.H., Polishook D., Moskovitz N., Thomas C.A., Dunn T.L., Vernazza P., Reddy V, Sanchez L., and Mainzer A. (In Press) Compositional and source region distribution for the Near-Earth Object population” Results from the MIT-Hawaii Near-Earth Object spectroscopic survey (MITHNEOS). Submitted to Icarus.
Dunn T.L. and Gross J. (2017) Reclassification  of Hart and NWA 6047: Criteria for distinguishing between the CV and CK3 chondrites. Meteoritics and Planetary Science. doi: 10.1111/maps.12946
Dunn T.L., Gross J., Ivanova M.A., Runyon S.E, and Bruck A.M. (2016) Magnetite in the unequilibrated CK Chondrites: Implications for metamorphism and new insights into the relationship between the CV and CK chondrites, doi:10.1111/maps.12691
Lindsay S.S, T.L Dunn, J.P Emery, N.E. Bowles. (2016) The Red Edge Problem in asteroid band parameter analysis. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 51, 806-817.
Reddy V., Dunn T.L, Thomas C., Moskovitz N., and Burbine T. (2015) Mineralogy and Surface Composition of Asteroids. In Asteroids IV (Binzel R., Patrick M. DeMeo F., eds) The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona, pp. 43-63.
Binzel R., Reddy V., and Dunn T.L. (2015) The Near-Earth Asteroid Population: From Main Belt to Meteorites. In Asteroids IV (Binzel R., Patrick M. DeMeo F., eds) The University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona, pp. 243-256.
Bhatt, M., Reddy V., Le Corre, L., Sanchez, J.A., Dunn T.L., Li, J-Y., Becker, K. Weller, L. (2015) Spectral calibration for deriving surface mineralogy of asteroid (25143) Itokawa from Hayabusa NIRS spectrometer data, Icarus, 262, 124-130.
Le Corre L., Reddy, V., Sanchez J.A., Dunn, T.L., Cloutis, E.A., Izawa, M., Mann, P., and Nathues. A. (2015) Exploring exogenic sources for the olivine on asteroid (4) Vesta. Icarus, 258, 483-499.
Dunn T.L., T.H. Burbine, W.F. Bottke, and J.P. Clark (2013) Mineralogies and source regions of Near-Earth asteroids, Icarus, 222, 273-282.
Dunn T.L., G. Cressey, H.Y. McSween Jr., T.J. McCoy, and P.A. Bland (2010), Analysis of ordinary chondrites using position sensitive X-Ray diffraction: 1. Modal mineral abundances, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 45, 123-134.
Dunn T.L., H.Y. McSween Jr., T.J. McCoy, and G. Cressey (2010), Analysis of ordinary chondrites using position sensitive X-Ray diffraction: 2. Applications to parent body processes, Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 45, 135-156.
Dunn T.L., T.J. McCoy, J.M. Sunshine, H.Y McSween Jr. (2010) A Coordinated Spectral, Mineralogical, and Compositional Study of Ordinary Chondrites, Icarus, 208, 789-797.
Dunn T. L., H. Y. McSween Jr., and P. R. Christensen (2007), Thermal emission spectra of terrestrial alkaline volcanic rocks: Applications to Martian remote sensing, Journal of Geophysical Research, 112, E05001, doi:10.1029/2006JE002766.

My Webpage


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