About Me

I am a Geological Sciences Ph.D. Candidate in the Center for Meteorite Studies within Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration. I am advised by Dr. Meenakshi Wadhwa.

I received my B.S. in Environmental Geosciences from the University of Notre Dame in 2015.

Click the following links to see my profiles on ResearchGate, Google Scholar, LinkedIn, ResearcherID, and OrcID

research interests

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/T. Pyle

The Early Solar System

Calcium-aluminum-rich inclusions (CAIs) found in meteorites are the first solids formed in the early Solar System and thus preserve a record of the earliest processes and conditions in our solar nebula.

In the Isotope Cosmochemistry and Geochronology Laboratory (ICGL) at ASU, I conduct isotopic analyses of CAIs with the goal of characterizing the isotopic compositions of these objects and gaining a better understanding of the isotopic environment of our early Solar System. This work has important implications for the dynamics and evolution of the solar nebula during the first million years of Solar System history.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/SETI


Europa is an icy moon of Jupiter that is considered to be one of the most promising places in our Solar System to look for environments suitable to sustain life. This is due in large part to the presence of a global subsurface liquid water ocean beneath the moon's icy shell.

My work in the Rhoden Research Group at ASU involves mapping surface microfeatures with the goal of constructing 3D maps of Europa's subsurface and determining locations of shallow subsurface liquid water. This work involves mapping microfeatures in ArcGIS and conducting statistical analyses of their spatial distribution. The results of this work will allow us to test existing subsurface models and determine potential landing sites for future missions to Europa's surface.

Image Credit: LANL

Nuclear Forensics

Trinitite is a glassy material formed subsequent the detonation of the Trinity nuclear bomb test on July 16, 1945 in New Mexico. It formed as the result of fusion of the desert sand, bomb, and test site components due to the high temperature and shock wave of the detonation.

As an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame, my work in the High Temperature Isotope Geochemistry Laboratory focused on conducting isotopic analyses of Trinitite in an effort to develop methods of source-attribution of post-detonation materials.

Teaching and outreach

Representing the Center for Meteorite Studies, I have presented and taught about meteorites at various events including the School of Earth and Space Exploration's (SESE) monthly open houses, SESE's annual Earth and Space Exploration Day, ASU's annual Open Door event, the Phoenix Comicon, and outreach events at local schools. For a schedule of SESE's upcoming public events at ASU's Tempe campus, click here.

As a teaching assistant at ASU, I have taught multiple geology courses including laboratory sections of Introduction to Geology I as well as online lecture and laboratory sections of Introduction to Geology II (Historical Geology).

In March, 2018 I was invited to the 2018 World Men's Curling Championship to discuss meteorites with members of the 2018 Olympic Gold Medal-winning Team Shuster. Check out the video we made here!

Contact details

Email: ztorrano[at]asu[dot]edu

Institutional Address:

School of Earth and Space Exploration

PO Box 871404

Tempe, AZ 85287-1404