Mark Baskaran

Mark Baskaran

Professor and Chairperson


313-577-0517 (fax)

0224 Old Main
Department of Geology
4831 Cass Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201

Curriculum vitae


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Mark Baskaran


Environmental Sciences and Geology

Dr. Mark Baskaran is a tenured full-time professor and chair in the Department of Geology at Wayne State University (Detroit, Michigan). He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Physical Research Laboratory (PRL), a premier research institution in India. After his Ph.D., he spent 2 years at PRL as a postdoctoral fellow before he moved to the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Alaska (Fairbanks, Alaska). After a year, he joined Texas A&M University (Galveston, Texas) where he taught introductory Physics and Geology courses at the Department of Marine Sciences, while conducting research related to atmospheric fluxes of radionuclides, mobility of radionuclides in groundwater, scavenging and particle cycling in marine environment and dating of recent sediments and carbonates. After his 11 year career as a teacher and researcher in Texas, he joined Wayne State University where he became a tenured Full Professor in 2007. He teaches both introductory level courses in Oceanography, Meteorology, and Physical Geology as well as upper level courses including Chemical Fate and Transport of Pollutants, Nuclear Geology, and Environmental Geochemistry.

Professor Mark Baskaran has published over 155 peer-reviewed articles (with over 8,970 Google Scholar cumulative citations, h-index 57 in May 2021), most of which are related to the applications of isotopes as tracers and chronometers in Earth systems. He edited a two-volume Handbook entitled “Handbook of Environmental Isotope Geochemistry” with forty articles contributed by eminent scholars in the field in 2011, published by Springer. He also published a monograph on radon entitled "Radon: A Tracer for Geological, Geophysical and Geochemical Studies"--Springer 2016. He spent three months as a Senior Fulbright Scholar at Ege University (Izmir, Turkey) in 2015. He was elected to the Academy of Scholars in 2021 at Wayne State University, a life-time appointment. He has given invited and plenary talks/seminars at over sixty national/international conferences, workshops, universities and research institutions around the world. He serves as an Associate Editor for two Elsevier journals, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity and Estuarine, Coastal, and Shelf Science. 

Dr. Baskaran’s research work includes all subsystems of the Earth system. He has extensively collaborated with a large number of researchers from universities and institutions around the world. His work with marine systems (estuarine, coastal, shelf and open-ocean) on the investigations of particular organic carbon export, particle cycling and remineralization and colloidal thorium scavenging in the Arctic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, North Atlantic and East Pacific were funded by several funding agencies in the U.S. that include the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Department of Energy (DOE). He has been funded by NSF as a part of the U.S. GEOTRACES group in four phases (Intercalibration, North Atlantic, East Pacific and Western Arctic Ocean sections). He has served as a Chief Scientist in six major oceanographic expeditions in the Gulf of Mexico and Arctic Ocean.

He convened a National Workshop entitled “Recent Changes in the Biogeochemistry of the Great Lakes System” in March 2013 at Wayne State University. He also had convened a number of sessions and meetings at both national and international conferences and workshops. Currently, he serves as the inaugural Chair (2017-2021) of the Devendra Lal Memorial Medal Selection Committee, a union-level award at the American Geophysical Union. He also serves a member of the National Fulbright Screening Committee.. 

Dr. Baskaran resides in Troy, Michigan with his wife, Rachel Baskaran. They have three grown-up children.

Research interest(s)/area of expertise

  • Applications of short-lived radionuclides as tracers and chronometer
  • Dating of sediments, carbonates (corals, speleothem, mollusk shells, etc)
  • Investigations on the distribution of Po-210 and Pb-210 for particle cycling, particle export, and remineralization in marine environment
  • Investigations of sea ice, ice-rafted sediments and snow from the Arctic for the age of ice-rafted sediments, ice core dating and accumulation-ablation rates of sea ice
  • Radium, radon as submarine groundwater exchange tracers in freshwater systems
  • Isotope Geochemistry


  • Ph.D. (1985) - Physical Research Laboratory, India

Awards and grants

  • PI: “GEOTRACES Arctic section: Application of 210Po and 210Pb distribution at contrasting interface regimes of Western Arctic”, October 15, 2014 – September 30, 2019, National Science Foundation.

  • PI: “RAPID: Investigating the incorporation of elements into ice in Lake St. Clair during extreme weather conditions: an analogy for chemical cycling in the Arctic Ocean”, Co-PI: Gi-Hoon Hong, $ 117,336, 1 March 2019 – 29 February 2022, National Science Foundation.

    PI: “Assessment of sources and accumulation rates of sediments accumulating in a range of aquatic environments using Be-7, Pb-210 and Po-210, $ 55,692, January 2020 – September 2020, USACE.

    Co-PI: “Sediment Yield and Dam Capacity in the Great Lakes Watershed”, $ 487,180 (Geology portion: $ 277,320), PI: Carol Miller, USACE, September 2014 – April 2016.

  • “Assessment of Changes in the Environmental Lead levels from Demolition of Houses from a Systematic Sampling of Air and Soil at Demolition Sites”, September 12, 2013 – 30 June 30, 2014, NextEnergy Center.

  • PI: “Workshop to Assess the Recent Changes in the Biogeochemistry of the Great Lakes System (BOGLS)”, February 1, 2013 – January 31, 2014, National Science Foundation.

  • PI: “Dating of Sediments from Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay”, March – December 2013, CILER (NOAA via University of Michigan).

  • PI: ‘Collaborative Research: GEOTRACES – 210Po and 210Pb distribution at Eastern Pacific Interface Regimes”, August 1, 2012 – July 31, 2015 – National Science Foundation.

  • Co-PI: “Sediment Yield and Dam Capacity in the Great Lakes Watershed: Reconnaissance and Laboratory Analysis”, PI: Carol Miller, USACE, September 2010 – August 2012.

  • PI: “Acquisition of Additional Counting Instruments for Radiochemical Research at Wayne State University”, August 31, 2010 – August 31, 2011 – National Science Foundation.

  • PI: “Collaborative Research: GEOTRACES-Application of 210Pb and 210Po distribution at North Atlantic Interface regimes”, April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2014 - National Science Foundation.

  • Chair, Devendra Lal Memorial Medal Selection Committee – Union-level Medal at AGU 2017-2019

  •  Senior Fulbright U.S. Scholar, Turkey (September – December 2015) 2015

Selected publications

Last 5 years (since 2016):

129) Baskaran, M.,T. Novell, K. Nash*, S.A. Ruberg, T. Johengen, N. Hawley, J.V. Klump and B.A. Biddanda, 2016. Tracking the seepage of subsurface sinkhole vent waters into Lake Huron using radium and stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen. Aquatic Geochemistry 22, 349-374.

130) Wang, J., J.Z. Du, M. Baskaran and J. Zhang, 2016. Mobile mud dynamics in the East China Sea elucidated using 210Pb, 137Cs, 7Be and 234Th as tracers. Jour. Geophys. Res. 12/2015; DOI:10.1002/2015JC011300.

131) Eakin, M., S.J. Brownlee, M. Baskaran and L. Barbero, 2016. Mechanisms of radon loss from zircon: Microstructural controls on emanation and diffusion. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 184, 212-226.

132) Kumar, A., J. Hage-Hassan, M. Baskaran, C.J. Miller, J.P. Selegean and C.T. Creech, 2016. Multiple sediment cores from reservoirs are needed to reconstruct recent watershed changes from stable isotopes (δ13C and δ15N) and C/N ratios: case studies from the midwestern United States. J. Paleolimnology 56, 15-31, doi: 10.1007/s10933-016-9888-0.

133) Brooks, Y., M.M. Baustian, M. Baskaran, N. Ostrom and J. Rose, 2016. Historical associations of molecular measurements of Escherichia coli and Enterococci to anthropogenic activities and climate variables in freshwater sediment cores. Environmental Science and Technology 50(13), 6902-6911, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est. 6b01372.

134) Baskaran, M., T.S. Bianchi and T.R. Filley, 2017. Inconsistencies between 14C and short-lived radionuclides-based sediment accumulation rates: effects of long-term remineralization. J. Environmental Radioactivity.

135) Su, K., J.Z. Du, M. Baskaran and J. Zhang, 2017. 210Po and 210Pb disequilibrium at the PN section in the East China Sea. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity.

136) Wang, J., M. Baskaran, X. Hou, J.Z. Du and J. Zhang, 2017. Historical changes in 239Pu and 240Pu sources in sedimentary records in the East China Sea: Implications for provenance and transportation. Earth Planet Sci. Lett. 466, 32-42.

137) Gorgun, A. and M. Baskaran, 2017. Special issue of Journal of Environmental Radioactivity on 3rd International Conference on Po and radioactive Pb isotopes. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 174, 1-2.

138) Baskaran, M., T.S. Bianchi and T.R. Filley, 2017. Inconsistencies between 14C and short-lived radionuclides-based sediment accumulation rates: effects of long-term remineralization. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity. 174, 10-16.

139) Su, K., J.Z. Du, M. Baskaran and J. Zhang, 2017. 210Po and 210Pb disequilibrium at the PN section in the East China Sea. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 174, 54-65.

140) Krupp, K. M. Baskaran and S.J. Brownlee, 2017. Variations of radon emanation coefficients of several minerals: How they vary with physical and mineralogical properties. American Mineralogist 102, 1375-1383.

141) Pradhan, S., J. Zhang, M. Baskaran, P.V. Shirodkar, Y. Wu and U.K. Pradhan, 2017. Investigations on the spatial and temporal variations of Sr and Nd isotopes in sediments from two Indian Rivers: Implications to source identification. Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst. 18(4), 1520-1536.

142) Wang, J., M. Baskaran and J. Niedermiller, 2017. Mobility of 137Cs in freshwater lakes: A mass balance and diffusion study of Lake St. Clair, Southeast Michigan, USA. Geochem. Cosmochim. Acta 218, 323-342.

143) Alighalehbabakhani, F., C.J. Miller, M. Baskaran, J.P. Selegean, J.H. Barkach, T. Dahl and S.M.S. Abkenar, 2017. Forecasting the remaining reservoir capacity in the Laurentian Great Lakes watershed. J. Hydrology 555, 926-937.

144) Schlitzer, R. et al. (with >150 authors), 2018. Chemical Geology, 493, 210-223, doi: 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2018.05.040.

145) Wang, Xilong, M. Baskaran, K.J. Su and J.Z. Du, 2018. The important role of submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) to derive nutrient fluxes into River dominated Ocean Margins – The East China Sea. Marine Chemistry 204, 121-132, doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2018.05.010.

146) Wang, Jinlong, W. Zhang, M. Baskaran, J.Z. Du, F. Zhou and H. Wu, 2018. Fingerprinting sediment transport in River-dominated Margins using combined mineral magnetic and radionuclide methods. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123.

147) Hayes, C. T., Black, E. E., Anderson, R. F., Baskaran, M., Buesseler, K. O., Charette, M. A. & Lam, P. J. (2018). Flux of particulate elements in the North Atlantic Ocean constrained by multiple radionuclides. Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 

148) Niedermiller, J., & Baskaran, M. (2019). Comparison of the scavenging intensity, remineralization and residence time of 210Po and 210Pb at key zones (biotic, sediment-water and hydrothermal) along the East Pacific GEOTRACES transect. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 198, 165-188. 

149) Kurz, A.Y., J.D. Blum, S.P. Washburn, M. Baskaran, 2019. Changes in the mercury isotopic composition of sediments from a remote alpine lake in Wyoming, USA. Science of the Total Environment 669, 973-982.

150) Wang, Jinlong, Q. Zhong, M. Baskaran and J.Z. Du, 2019. Investigations on the time-series partitioning of 210Pb, 207Bi and 210Po between marine particles and solution under different salinity and pH conditions. Chem. Geology 528 (2019) 119275.

151) Howard, J., J. Weyhrauch, G. Loriaux, B. Schultz and M. Baskaran, 2019. Contributions of artifactual materials to the toxicity of anthropogenic soils and street dusts in a highly urbanized terrain. Environmental Pollution 255 (2029) 113350.

152) Kim, T.-J., G.H. Hong, D.G. Kim and M. Baskaran, 2019. Iron fertilization with enhanced phytoplankton productivity under minimal sulfur compounds and grazing control analysis in HNLC region. American Journal of Climate Change 8, 14-39.

153) Bam, W., K. Maiti, M. Baskaran, K. Krupp, P.J. Lam and Y. Xiang, 2020. Variability of 210Pb and 210Po partition coefficients (Kd) along the US GEOTRCES Arctic Transect. Marine Chemistry 219(2020)103749.

154) Baustian, M., Y. Brooks, M. Baskaran, P.R. Leavitt, B. Liu, N. Ostrom, R.J. Stevenson and J. Jose, 2020. Paleo-environmental evidence of ecosystem change in Lake St. Clair region of Laurentian Great Lake basin: contrasting responses to land-use change and invasive mussels. J. Paleolimnology

155) Baskaran, M., R. Mudbidre and L. Schweitzer, 2020. Quantification of Po-210 and Pb-210 as tracer of sediment resuspension rate in a shallow riverine system: case study from Southeast Michigan, USA. Journal Environmental Radioactivity,

156) Wang, J., M. Baskaran, A. Kumar, et al., 2020. Reconstruction of temporal variations of metal concentrations using radiochronology (239+240Pu and 137Cs) in sediments from Kizilirmak River, Turkey. J. Paleolimnology 10.1007/s10933-020-00154-W.

157) Behbehani, A., S. Uddin and M. Baskaran, 2020. 210Po concentration in different size fractions of aerosol likely contribution from industrial sources. Journal of Environmental Radioactivity 222 (2020) 106323.

158) Knight, C.A., M. Baskaran, M.J. Bunting, M. Champagne, M.D. Potts, D. Wahl, J. Wanket and J.J. Battles, 2021. Linking modern pollen accumulation rates to biomass: Quantitative vegetation reconstruction in the western Klamath Mountains, NW California, USA. The Holocene 1-16, doi: 10.1177/0959683620988038.

Currently teaching

  • GEL 5510: Environmental Fate and Transport of Pollutants

Courses taught

  • GEL-1010: Physical Geology
  • GEL-1050: Oceanography
  • GEL-1370: Meteorology: The Study of Weather
  • GEL-5120: Environmental Geochemistry
  • GEL-6400: Nuclear Geology

Citation index