Sciences and Exploration Directorate

David Graham Burtt


David Graham Burtt's Contact Card & Information.
Phone: 301.614.6250
Org Code: 699
Mail Code 699
Greenbelt, MD 20771

Brief Bio

Dr. David Burtt is a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Burtt's research focuses on contextualizing past and present climates at the surface of Mars. More specifically, he uses isotope geochemistry to study carbonates, a mineralogical phase capable of preserving signatures of its formation conditions. This laboratory-based research informs analyses performed with the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument aboard the Curiosity rover. While his current research is Mars-related, Dr. Burtt is broadly interested in the intersection between isotopes and planetary geoscience.

Dr. Burtt earned a PhD. in Geosciences from Stony Brook University, where he used carbonate clumped isotopes to study terrestrial meteorite impacts and their products. Dr. Burtt also has a B.A in Geology-Chemistry from Whitman College with an undergraduate thesis on the use of strontium isotopes to track mammoth migration patterns.

Current Projects

Mg-Carbonates on Mars

Planetary Geology

Mg-carbonates have been detected on the Martian surface. However, the formation mechanism (and formation conditions) of these environmentally significant phases remain ambiguous. I will be precipitating Mg-carbonates in the lab and studying their isotope compositions to inform current measurements on the SAM instrument as well as priorities for future sample return missions.


NASA Postdoctoral Fellow

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - Greenbelt, MD

November 2022 - Present

Graduate Research Assistant

Stony Brook University - Stony Brook, NY

September 2019 - August 2022

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Stony Brook University - Stony Brook, NY

September 2017 - May 2019

Research Assistant

NASA Ames Research Center - Mountain View, CA

January 2017 - August 2017


PhD. (Geology - 2022) Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY

B.A. (Geology-Chemistry - 2016) Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA

Professional Societies

American Geophysical Union

2013 - Present

Geological Society of America

2013 - Present


NASA Postdoctoral Research Fellowship - 2022

Stony Brook Geosciences Excellence in Teaching Award - 2019

Pearson Academic Achievement Scholarship - 2012-2016

Talks, Presentations and Posters


The Immediate Aftermath – Contextualizing the Products of Meteorite Impacts with Clumped Isotopes

University of New Mexico

June 9, 2022


Experimental and Empirical Evidence for Carbonate Isotopologue Disequilibrium Driven by Meteorite Impact-Related Decarbonation

American Geophysical Union

13, 2021

The Effects of Carbonate Decomposition on Clumped Isotopes from Heavily Altered Limestone Clasts in the Steen River Impact Structure Breccia

American Geophysical Union

10, 2020

Selected Public Outreach

STEM Outreach at Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary

October 2017 - September 2022