Dr. Desmond Moser

Zircon & Accessory Phase Laboratory

Desmond MoserProfessor & Department Chair
Ph.D. Queen's University, 1993
Office: BGS 1070
Chair's Office: BGS 1028
Labs: BGS 1000C, 1059
Phone: (519) 661-2111 x.84214
Fax: (519) 661-3198
Email: desmond.moser@uwo.ca
Lab Website

Research Interests

Dr. Desmond Moser conducts solid Earth and planetary science research using Western’s nationally unique Zircon and Accessory Phase Laboratory (ZAPLab). Micromineral crystal growth and deformation analysis (e.g. CL, EBSD) is integrated with field mapping, microchemical (EDS, WDS), petrologic and mass spectrometry measurements (radiogenic and stable isotopes) at Western and partner institutes. His active projects investigate meteorites, crustal cross-sections, kimberlite xenoliths, sedimentary basins and impact structures in the Americas, Africa and Europe. His ZAPLab team is advancing our knowledge of the timing and nature of processes that form and modify planetary crusts and ore deposits while advancing the growing sub-discipline of accessory mineral science.

Selected Publications

  • White, L.F., Darling, J.R., Moser, D.E., Reinhard, D., Prosa, T.J., Bullen, D., Olson, D., Larson, D.J., 2017, Atomic-scale age resoultion of planetary events. Nature. Commun. 8, 15597 doi: 10.1038/ncommus15597
  • Moser, D.E., Chamberlain K, Schmitt A, Tait K, Darling J, Barker I, Hyde B., 2013, Solving the Martian meteorite age conundrum using micro-baddeleyite and launch-generated zircon, Nature, 499, 454-457
  • Moser, D.E., Cupelli, C. L., Barker, I., Flowers, R.M., Bowman, J.R., Wooden, J., Hart, R., 2011, New zircon shock phenomena and their use for dating and reconstruction of large impact structures revealed by electron nanobeam (EBSD, CL, EDS) and isotopic U-Pb and (U-Th)/He analysis of the Vredefort dome. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (Tom Krogh special volume); 48: 117-139
  • Moser, D.E., Davis, W.J., Reddy, S.R., Flemming, R.L., and Hart, R.J., 2009, Zircon U-Pb strain chronometry reveals deep impact-triggered flow, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 277, 73-79.
  • Moser, D.E., Bowman, J.R., Wooden, J., Valley, J.W., Mazdab, F., Kita, N., 2008, Creation of a continent recorded in zircon zoning, Geology, 36; no. 3; p. 239–242; doi: 10.1130/G24416A.1; 3 figures; Data Repository item 2008059.
  • Moser, D.E., Flowers, R., and Hart, R.J., 2001, Birth of the Kaapvaal tectosphere 3.08 billion years ago. Science, 291: 465-468.
  • Moser, D.E. 1997. Dating the shock wave and thermal imprint of the giant Vredefort impact, South Africa. Geology, 25:7-10.


  • Earth Sciences 2130Y: Geography & Geology of Southwestern Ontario
  • Earth Sciences 3350Y: Advanced Field Mapping Techniques
  • Geology 9559: Microstructural Geochronology of Planetary and Resource Evolution
  • Geology/Geophysics 9580: Graduate Seminar 

Future Students

Current Projects Available:

  1. Zircon microstructure and Oxygen-U-Pb isotope behaviour in large meteorite impacts (e.g. Vredefort, Sudbury)
  2. EBSD and U-Pb dating of meteorites, particularly planetary achondrites (e.g. martian, lunar)
  3. Direct dating of ductile deformation using U-Pb geochronology
  4. The evolution of early to late Archean cratons and their diamond deposits (e.g. Eoarchean Nuvvuagittuq assemblage, Quebec, Superior province kimberlite xenoliths)
  5. EBSD, Colour+UV SEM- Cathodoluminescence, and trace element analysis of accessory minerals