Kimberly Tait




Royal Ontario Museum

Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

My research program is focused on using minerals as probes of solar system evolution. This research program currently has a strong focus on Martian meteorites, but I am also interested in rare achondrites and lunar samples and have access to these materials from the museum collections, for which I oversee. I use a variety of analytical techniques to expand the observations of the mineralogical constituents of extraterrestrial samples, using modern methods of chemical and structural analysis and use that information to constrain their petrological history. This includes understanding the substitution mechanisms of major elements and trace elements within the crystal structure of minerals within different geological environments, providing critically important tools for petrogenetic reconstructions of the geological processes that shaped the terrestrial planets and their moons. Understanding the mineralogy of these rare extra-terrestrial samples is critical to unravelling the most puzzling paradox in the chronology of magmatism, the crystallization history of magmas, differentiation processes, and the conditions of crystallization of the crust of these ancient bodies. 


Dr. Kimberly Tait is the Teck Endowed Chair of Mineralogy (Curator of Mineralogy) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and an Associate Professor (status only) at the University of Toronto, Earth Sciences. She oversees all the Earth Science’s collections at the ROM, including minerals, meteorites, gemstones and rocks, and the diffraction and spectroscopy laboratories at the ROM. Kim holds a PhD (2007) from the University of Arizona in Geosciences, a MSc. (2002) and BSc. (1st class honours, 1999) from the University of Manitoba. She is also a Fellow of the Canadian Gemmological Association. She has an international research program studying minerals from Earth, but also from rare samples from the solar system, especially phosphate minerals. Her projects and students are funded via an NSERC Discovery Grant with an Accelerator grant. The Discovery Accelerator Grant Program “…provides substantial and timely resources to researchers who have a superior research program that is highly rated in terms of originality and innovation, and who show strong potential to become international leaders within their field”. She supervises many graduate, undergraduate and postdoctoral fellows, as well as volunteers to the museum. She is a collaborator on the NASA led mission called OSIRIS-REx, a sample return mission that the Canadian Space Agency. Since she arrived at the museum, she has overseen the development and installation of the permanent display of the collection, collectively called the Teck Suite of Galleries: Earth’s Treasures, which consists of four galleries, the Vale mineral gallery, the Canadian mining Hall of Fame, the Gallery of Gems and Gold and more recently added the Barrick Corporation Gallery for Modern Mining. She also was the lead curator for the Blockbuster exhibit, Nature of Diamonds and co-curator for Water: H2O to Life, which includes not only intellectual contribution, but being a spokesperson for the museum and the resident expert. Overseeing four major collections at the ROM, including collection building and research direction on the collection is also an important role she has. Currently the section is working on a multi-million-dollar collection upgrade, including low-humidity storage for the collections and converting all of the cases to modern, inert metal cases. As well, in 2013 she arranged for the largest acquisition of minerals and rocks in the ROM’s history, over 23,000 samples to be purchased and shipped to the museum. This collection is an incredibly important addition to the already strong collection, especially in the Asia-Pacific regions that were poorly represented before. 


PhD, University of Arizona
MSc, University of Manitoba
BSc, University of Manitoba