Professor Jolliff's teaching and research focus is on the Moon and Mars, the materials that make up their surfaces and interiors, and what they tell about the planet's history.
Dr. Jolliff’s research focus includes the petrologic and geochemical study of element distribution in rocks and minerals as recorders of igneous processes and petrogenetic history, with particular emphasis on lunar samples, martian materials, and terrestrial analogs. Jolliff uses the crystal chemistry and trace-element geochemistry of silicate and accessory minerals in igneous systems to understand their petrogenesis, including igneous, metamorphic, and impact processes on terrestrial planets and their evolution through time. He is also involved in remote sensing and automated in-situ determination of surface mineralogy of the Moon, Mars, and other bodies.
Through involvement with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera team, he investigates the surface of the Moon, relating what can be seen from orbit to what is known about the Moon through the study of Apollo and lunar meteorite samples. Through his involvement with the Mars Exploration Rovers, he investigates the mineralogy and composition of the martian surface, and alteration processes and geologic history of Mars. These investigations include a component of laboratory study to understand the compositional and phase relationships, and formation conditions among planetary materials.