Prof. Sheng-Ao Liu

Nationality: P. R. China
Current position: Geochemistry Professor, China University of Geosciences, Beijing
Current Address: No. 29, Xueyuan Road, Haidian District, Beijing, China 100083
E-mail address:

Professional positions

2016.12 – present, Professor, China University of Geosciences, Beijing
Research field: Cu and Zn isotope geochemistry
2013.12 -2016.12, associated professor, China University of Geosciences, Beijing
2011.10 – 2013.11, Post-doc, China University of Geosciences, Beijing

Academic qualifications

2006.7-2011.6, PhD in Geochemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China
Advisor: Prof. Shuguang Li
Research field: Origin of adakite and Porphyry Cu-Au mineralization
2009.9-2010.9, Visiting student, The University of Arkansas, USA.
Advisor: Dr. Fang-Zhen Teng
Research field: Mg isotope geochemistry
2002.9-2006.6, BS in Geochemistry, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui, China

Awards and Honors

2010, Qiushi graduate student scholarship rewarded by the Hongkong Qiushi fund
2010, Dean’s Award of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS)
2011, Award of the new academic men of USTC
2011, Best talk award (total 20 speakers), CAS Key Laboratory of Crust-Mantle Materials and Environments
2011, Outstanding PhD graduates of USTC
2011, Outstanding PhD graduates of Anhui province
2012, Excellent doctoral dissertation of the CAS
2013, Excellent doctoral dissertation of China
2016, the National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholars


I’m mainly interested in the geochemical study of metal stable isotopes (Cu, Zn, Mg, Cd, Cr, etc.), focusing on the early Earth’s environment and life evolution, the Earth’s deep carbon cycle and its climate response, and the use of copper and zinc isotopes in mineral deposit studies.
In recent years, my research group has systematically studied the behaviors of Cu-Zn isotopes in high temperature magma process, continental weathering, adsorption, and oceanic alteration, and provided new baseline data for Cu-Zn isotope composition of the silicate Earth (BSE).
We applied Zn isotopes to the study of bio-extinction mechanisms, providing new Zn isotope evidence for the large-scale volcanism immediately before the end of the Permian bio-extinction and the rapid recovery of marine primary productivity after mass extinction. We also have provided independent Zn isotope evidence for sea level decline during the period of the F-F extinction.
We also applied Zn isotopes to the study of Earth’s deep carbon cycle for the first time and found a large-scale Zn isotope anomaly of Cenozoic alkaline basalts in eastern China. Together with Mg isotope data, we provided key evidence for the existence of large-scale recycled carbonate (magnesite) in the upper mantle beneath eastern China. We also proposed that the compositional transition of alkaline basalts in eastern China is achieved via the interaction of carbonated melt with the lithosphere.
In addition, we developed the application of Cu isotopes to high-temperature magmatic deposits, and provided key evidence for initial Cu enrichment in the source area of giant porphyry deposits. I studied the genetic difference between the ore-bearing and ore-barren adakite rocks in eastern China, and proposed that the large-scale Cu-Au mineralization in the lower Yangtze River belt is related to the subduction and melting of the oceanic slabs.


Peer-reviewed Publications Since 2010 (*corresponding author)

27. Zhao, Y., Xue, C*., Liu, S.-A*., R, Mathur., Zhao, X.B., Yang, Y.Q., J, Dai, R, Man, X, Liu., Redox reactions control Cu and Fe isotope fractionation in a magmatic Ni-Cu mineralization system. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, accpeted.
26. Zheng, Y.C*., Liu, S.-A*., Wu, C.D., William Griffin., Xu, B., Li, Z.Q., Yang, Z.M., Hou, Z.Q., Suzanne O’Reilly.,2019. Cu isotopes reveal initial Cu enrichment in sources of giant porphyry deposits in collision setting. Geology, 47(2), 135-138
25. Xu, L.J*., Liu, S.-A*., Wang, Z.Z., Liu, C.Y., Li, S.G., 2019. Zinc isotopic compositions of migmatites and granitoids from the Dabie Orogen, central China: Implications for zinc isotopic fractionation during differentiation of the continental crust. Lithos, 324-325: 454-465.
24. Li, D.-D., Li, M.-L., Liu, W.-R., Qin, Z.-Z., Liu, S.-A*., 2018. Cadmium Isotopic Composition of Solution Standards and Geological Reference Materials measured by MC-ICP-MS. Geostandards and Geoanalytical Research, 42: 593-605.
23. Lv, Y.-W., Liu, S.-A*., Wu, H.-C., Hohl, Simon V., Chen, S.-M., Li, S.-G., 2018. Zn-Sr isotope records of the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation in South China: diagenesis assessment and implications. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 239: 330-345.
22. Wang, Z.-Z., Liu, S.-A*., Chen, L.-H., Li, S.G., Zeng, G., 2018. Compositional transition in natural alkaline lavas through silica-undersaturated melt-lithosphere interaction. Geology, 46: 771-774.
21. Wang X., Liu, S.-A*., Wang, Z.R., Chen, D.Z., Zhang, L.Y., 2018. Zinc and strontium isotope evidence for climate cooling and constraints on the Frasnian-Famennian (~372 Ma) mass extinction. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 498, 68–82
20. Zhao, Y., Xue, C*., Liu, S.-A*., Symonsb, David,, Zhao, X.B., Yang, Y.Q., Ke, J., 2017. Copper isotope fractionation during sulfide-magma differentiation in the Tulaergen magmatic Ni-Cu deposit, NW China. Lithos, 286–287: 206–215
19. Liu, S.-A*., Wu, H.C*., Shen, S.Z., Jiang, G.Q., Zhang, S.H., Lv, Y.W., Zhang, H., Li, S.G., 2017. Zinc isotope evidence for intensive magmatism immediately before the end-Permian mass extinction. Geology, 45: 9-12.
18. Wang, Z.-Z., Liu, S.-A*., Liu, J.-G., Huang, J., Xiao, Y., Chu. Z.Y., Zhao, XM., Tang, L.M., 2017. Zinc isotope fractionation during mantle melting and constraints on the Zn isotope composition of Earth’s upper mantle. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 198: 151-167
17. Huang, J*., Liu, S.-A*., Gao, Y.J., Xiao, Y.L., Chen, S., 2016. Copper and zinc isotope systematics of altered oceanic crust at IODP Site 1256 in the eastern equatorial Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 121: 7086-7100
16. Huang, J*., Liu, S.-A*., G. Worner, Yu, H., Xiao, Y., 2016. Cu isotope behavior during extreme magma differentiation nd degassing: a case study on Laacher See phonolite tephra East Eifel, Germany). Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, 171: 76-90
15. Wang, Z.-Z., Liu, S.-A*., Ke, S., liu, YC., Li, S.-G., 2016. Magnesium isotopic heterogeneity across the cratonic lithosphere in eastern China and its origins. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 451, 77-88.
14. Liu, S.-A*., Wang, Z.-Z., Li, S.G., Huang, J., Yang, W., 2016. Zinc isotope evidence for a large-scale carbonated mantle beneath eastern China. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 444: 169-178.
13. Lv, Y.-W., Liu, S.-A*., Zhu, J.M., Li, S.G., 2016. Copper and zinc isotope fractionation during deposition and weathering of highly metalliferous black shales in central China. Chemical Geology, 445: 24-35.
12. Liu, S.-A*., Huang, J., Liu, J.-G., G. Worner, Yang, W., Tang, Y.-J., Tang, L.-M., Li, S.-G., 2015. Copper isotopic composition of the silicate Earth. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 427: 95-103.
11. Li, D.-D., Liu, S.-A*., Li, S.-G., 2015. Copper isotope fractionation during adsorption onto kaolinite: Experiment approach and applications. Chemical Geology, 396, 74-82.
10. 张力钰,刘盛遨*,赵盼捞,汪方跃,宁镇地区成矿斑岩与铁镁质包体铜同位素对比研究及其意义. 岩石学报,31(7): 1908-1916
9. 王泽洲,刘盛遨*,李丹丹,吕逸文,吴松, 赵云, 铜同位素地球化学进展. 地学前缘,22(5): 072-083.
8. Liu, S.-A*., Teng, F.-Z., Li, S.-G., Wei, G.-J., Ma, J.-L., Li, D-.D., 2014. Copper and iron isotope fractionation during weathering and pedogenesis: Insights from saprolite profiles. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 146: 59-75.
7. Liu, S.-A*., Li, D.-D., Li, S.-G., Teng, F.-Z., Ke, S., He, Y.-S., Lu, Y.-H., 2014. High-precision copper and iron isotope analysis of igneous rock standards by MC-ICP-MS. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, 29, 122-133.
6. Wang, F.-Y*., Liu, S.-A*., Li, S.-G., He, Y.-S., 2014. Zircon U-Pb ages, H-O isotopes and trace elements of Mesozoic high Sr/Y porphyries from Ningzhen, eastern China: Constraints on their petrogenesis, tectonic implications and Cu mineralization. Lithos, 200-201: 299-316.
5. Wang. F.-Y*., Liu, S.-A*., Li, S.-G., He, Y.-S., 2013. Contrasting zircon Hf-O isotopes and trace elements between ore-bearing and ore-barren adakites in central-eastern China: Implications for genetic relation to Cu-Au mineralization. Lithos, 156-159: 97-111.
4. Liu, S.-A*., Li, S.-G., Guo, S.-S., Hou, Z.-H., He, Y.-S., 2012. The Cretaceous adakitic–basaltic– granitic magma sequence in south-eastern margin of the North China Craton: Implications for lithospheric thinning mechanism. Lithos, 134-145: 163-178.
3. Liu, S.-A*., Teng, F.-Z., Yang, Wei., Wu, F.-Y., 2011. High-temperature inter-mineral magnesium isotope fractionation on mantle xenoliths from the North China craton. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 308(1-2), 131-140.
2. Liu, S.-A*., Li, S.-G., He, Y.-S., Huang, F., 2010. Geochemical contrasts between early Cretaceous ore-bearing and ore-barren high-Mg adakites in central-eastern China: Implications for petrogenesis and Cu-Au mineralization. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 74(24): 7160-7178.
1. Liu, S.-A*., Teng, F.-Z., He, Y.-S., Ke, S., Li, S.-G., 2010. Investigation of magnesium isotope fractionation during granite differentiation: Implication for Mg isotopic composition of the continental crust. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 297(3-4), 646-654.