“How water reacts with minerals and rocks is not merely an intellectual curiosity, but is intimately related to societal needs.”

Chen Zhu

professional background

Hydrogeology and Geochemistry

Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Haydn Murray Chair in Applied Clay Mineralogy
Adjunct Professor, Environmental Science
Adjunct Professor, Environmental Health

Associate Editor, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
  • M.Sc. University of Toronto
  • B. Eng., Chengdu College of Geology
  • Post-doctoral Fellowship, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Biographical Highlights:

  1. Professeur Invité, Toulouse Paul-Sabatier University/French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France, June-July, 2019
  2. Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2017
  3. Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America, 2016-present
  4. Fulbright Scholarship to Norway, University of Oslo (2009)
  5. Research Fellow, Okayama University, Japan (2005, 2010)
  6. Guest Professor, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) - Zurich, Switzerland (2008)
  7. Sabbatical Professor, University of California - Berkeley (2008)
  8. The John Hem Excellence in Science and Engineering Award, National Ground Water Association (2006)
  9. Lilly Freshman Learning Project Fellow (teaching), Indiana University, 2006-
  10. Fellow, Geological Society of America, 2005-
  11. Associate and Full Professor of Geological Sciences, Indiana University - Bloomington (2004-2011, 2011-, respectively)
  12. Guest Professor, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH)-Zurich, Switzerland (2004)
  13. Senior Associateship Award, National Research Council, the National Academy of Sciences (2003)


Click on this link to view my current publications list.

seeking graduate students

The Zhu group is seeking highly motivated graduate students with an interest in geochemistry or hydrogeology.

Potential applicants please contact Chen Zhu (

undergraduate research opportunities

Research opportunities are available for undergraduates!
Students with a background in environmental sciences, chemistry/geochemistry, hydrology/hydrogeology, informatics, and data sciences will probably find some exciting research projects matching your interests.

Send inquiries to Chen Zhu (, attaching your resume and science courses completed.

Research Interests

HydroGeochemistry, Geochemical modeling, Water resources, Thermodynamics and kinetics of chemical reactions, Carbon sequestration, Arsenic contamination.

I study the chemistry of water and its reactions with minerals and rocks. Through these reactions, water acquires chemical constituents and isotopic signatures. The chemical and isotopic signatures are useful to map the movement of fluid flow and allow us to calculate the in situ rates of chemical reactions under geological conditions. On a global scale, these chemical reactions are a key component of the interactions between the Earth’s hydrosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and atmosphere. Many fundamental processes in Earth’s geological systems, such as chemical weathering, diagenesis, and the movement, distribution, and global cycling of chemical elements are related to these interactions.

How water reacts with minerals and rocks is not merely an intellectual curiosity, but is intimately related to societal needs.

My research has addressed water quality (what chemicals are in water, how did they get there, and where are they going to end up), water quantity (how much water recharges an aquifer and whether the amount of withdrawal is environmentally sustainable), arsenic, antimony, and uranium contamination of surface and ground water, and large scale numerical models of water flow and contaminant transport.

Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Indiana University
725 N. Walnut Grove Bloomington IN 47405