Dimitri Sverjensky


220 Olin Hall
Curriculum Vitae
Google Scholar Profile


Dimitri Sverjensky was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. An early interest in bird-watching, together with a love of the outdoors, lead to the study of geology at Cranbrook School. There, as a teenager, he first learned the formulas of complex minerals, such as tremolite, under Frank Tebbutt. Subsequently, at the University of Sydney, he was trained in Crystallography by Ian Threadgold. Under the influence of Dal Swaine and Ron Wilkins, it became clear to him that he wanted to pursue the combination of geology and chemistry, i.e., geochemistry.

This interest in geochemistry led him to the PhD program at Yale University, where he worked with Danny Rye and Brian Skinner, and was also greatly influenced by Bob Berner and the late Phil Orville and Karl Turekian. His PhD research investigated the origins of base-metal sulfide ore deposits in sedimentary rocks and the origins of fluids in sedimentary basins. His first position after graduating in 1980 was at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory studying oil-field brines. While there, he started a collaboration in theoretical geochemistry with the late Harold C. Helgeson at the University of California, Berkeley, an association and friendship that lasted 27 years. After a three-year stay at SUNY Stony Brook as an assistant professor, he was hired in 1984 by Johns Hopkins University where he has been ever since.

Over a period of more than 30 years, Sverjensky’s research interests in geochemistry evolved from economic geology, including the origins of sediment-hosted ore deposits and the chemistry of sedimentary basinal fluids, to high temperature and pressure aqueous solution chemistry (collaborating with H.C. Helgeson, E.L. Shock, and J.J. Hemley) to the geochemistry of the mineral-water interface. The theoretical advances made in these areas of research are now being applied in three new areas:

(1) Following a sabbatical in 2005, Sverjensky started a collaboration with Robert Hazen and colleagues at the Geophysical Laboratory of the Carnegie Institution of Washington in Astrobiology—specifically addressing the role of mineral-water interfacial reactions in the origin of life and the role of hydrothermal fluids.

(2) A second closely related line of research investigates the surface environments on early Earth using theoretical models of weathering and element mobility. These studies complement related studies of mineral evolution on Earth.

(3) During his most recent sabbatical in 2012, Sverjensky opened a new field of research into the role of water in the deep Earth. This research involves studying the role of fluid-mineral interactions in the Earth’s deep carbon cycle in a collaboration with Isabelle Daniel (Lyon) and Craig Manning (UCLA) through the Deep Carbon Observatory. Current topics include the origins of fluids in diamonds, the species and transport of carbon, sulfur and nitrogen in subduction zones, and the role of fluids in oxidation of the mantle wedges.

Freshman Seminars: "Environmental Poisons"; "Sustainable and Non-sustainable Resources"

Undergraduate and beginning graduate: "Geochemistry of the Earth and Environment".; "Aqueous Geochemistry"

Advanced Graduate: "Mineral-surface Geochemistry"; "Graduate Seminar in Geochemistry"


Displaying the 20 most recent publications. View the Google Scholar Profile for complete publications list.

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F Huang, I Daniel, H Cardon, G Montagnac, DA Sverjensky
Immiscible hydrocarbon fluids in the deep carbon cycle
Nature Communications, 10.1038/ncomms15798, 2017

S Mikhail, P Barry, DA Sverjensky
The role of pH in the deep-Earth nitrogen cycle.
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 209, 149-160, 2017

CF Estrada, I Mamjanov, J Hao, S D. A, GD Cody, H R. M.
Aspartate transformation at 200°C with brucite [Mg(OH)2], NH3, and H2: Implications for prebiotic molecules in hydrothermal systems.
Chemical Geology 457, 162-172, 2017

J Hao, DA Sverjensky, RM Hazen
A model for late Archean chemical weathering and world average river water
Earth and Planetary Science Letters 457, 191-203, 2017

S Facq, I Daniel, G Montagnac, H Cardon, DA Sverjensky
Carbon speciation in saline solutions in equilibrium with aragonite at high pressure
Chemical Geology 431, 44-53, 2016

D Sverjensky, F Huang
Diamond formation due to a pH drop during fluid–rock interactions
Nature Communications, 2015

CF Estrada, DA Sverjensky, A Pelletier, M., Razafitianamaharavo, ...
Interaction between L-aspartate and the brucite [Mg(OH)2]- water interface
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 155, 172-186, 2015

C Feuillie, DA Sverjensky, RM Hazen
Attachment of Ribonucleotides on α-Alumina as a Function of pH, Ionic Strength, and Surface Loading
Langmuir 31 (1), 240-248, 2015

DA Sverjensky, V Stagno, F Huang
Important role for organic carbon in subduction-zone fluids in the deep carbon cycle
Nature Geoscience 7 (12), 909, 2014

FM McCubbin, DA Sverjensky, A Steele, BO Mysen
In-situ characterization of oxalic acid breakdown at elevated P and T: Implications for organic COH fluid sources in petrologic experiments
American Mineralogist 99 (11-12), 2258-2271, 2014

S Mikhail, DA Sverjensky
Nitrogen speciation in upper mantle fluids and the origin of Earth's nitrogen-rich atmosphere
Nature Geoscience 7 (11), 816, 2014

N Lee, DI Foustoukos, DA Sverjensky, RM Hazen, GD Cody
Hydrogen enhances the stability of glutamic acid in hydrothermal environments
Chemical Geology 386, 184-189, 2014

BG Pautler, CA Colla, RL Johnson, P Klavins, SJ Harley, CA Ohlin, ...
Rücktitelbild: A High‐Pressure NMR Probe for Aqueous Geochemistry (Angew. Chem. 37/2014)
Angewandte Chemie 126 (37), 10122-10122, 2014

BG Pautler, CA Colla, RL Johnson, P Klavins, SJ Harley, CA Ohlin, ...
A High‐Pressure NMR Probe for Aqueous Geochemistry
Angewandte Chemie International Edition 53 (37), 9788-9791, 2014

N Lee, DA Sverjensky, RM Hazen
Cooperative and competitive adsorption of amino acids with Ca2+ on rutile (α-TiO2)
Environmental science & technology 48 (16), 9358-9365, 2014

N Lee, DI Foustoukos, DA Sverjensky, GD Cody, RM Hazen
The effects of temperature, pH and redox state on the stability of glutamic acid in hydrothermal fluids
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 135, 66-86, 2014

S Facq, I Daniel, G Montagnac, H Cardon, DA Sverjensky
In situ Raman study and thermodynamic model of aqueous carbonate speciation in equilibrium with aragonite under subduction zone conditions
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 132, 375-390, 2014

DA Sverjensky, B Harrison, D Azzolini
Water in the deep Earth: The dielectric constant and the solubilities of quartz and corundum to 60kb and 1200 C
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 129, 125-145, 2014

RM Hazen, XM Liu, RT Downs, J Golden, AJ Pires, ES Grew, G Hystad, ...
Mineral evolution: Episodic metallogenesis, the supercontinent cycle, and the co-evolving geosphere and biosphere
Economic Geology Special Publication 18, 1-15, 2014

RM Hazen, DA Sverjensky, D Azzolini, DL Bish, SC Elmore, L Hinnov, ...
Clay mineral evolution
American Mineralogist 98 (11-12), 2007-2029, 2013