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Sebastiaan de Vet

Honorary Research Associate - Taxonomy & Systematics


Email: sebastiaan.devet@naturalis.nl
Phone: 071-751 9600
Room number: Vondellaan 55
“Geoscience may appear to have a geocentric worldview, but it is quite adept in luring you into looking upwards to those other geological wonders in the Solar System.”


Research interest

Understanding how geological materials and landforms leverage our understanding of planetary evolution is one of my main research interests. This requires the study of extra-terrestrial materials, such as meteorites, and landforms of planetary bodies. Although limited in absolute numbers, the six ‘Dutch’ meteorites tell a fascinating story of primitive, metamorphosed and differentiated planetary bodies, each representing a step in the story (during the first millions of years) of the growth to planethood. However, for the final stages in planetary evolution – spanning the scale of billions of years – landscapes can help us to study and tell this story. Internal and external processes that have affected a planetary surface have caused it to retaining clues to the planet’s geologic, climatic, and possibly biologic past. Where meteoritics studies the earliest rocks, planetary geoscience studies their lasts transformations; both are highly complementary and timely endeavours in the ongoing exploration of our Solar System.

Key issues that I try to address:

  • Provide context and possible provenance of the ‘Dutch’ meteorites in the Solar System through spectroscopic characterization of these meteorites and comparisons with spectral types of asteroids.
  • Study historic meteorites in museum collections and explore new innovative methodologies to perform compositional and morphological analyses of meteorites using e.g. 3-D and micro-CT data;
  • Understand how key physical planetary characteristics, such as gravity or atmospheric conditions, may influence biological or geological processes by using analogue materials, field studies or dedicated laboratory experiments.
  • Planetary gemorphology: study process dynamics and infer formative conditions of landforms. Interested in the reworking of sediments by aeolian detachment and transport, and physical weathering of materials by local meteorological conditions.


soil science, meteoritics, planetary science, aeolian research, sedimentology, geomorphology, glaciovolcanism

Current research topics




Some examples of external guest lectures:

  • Impact cratering: physics, geology and associated Hazards. Part of the course: Natuurrampen en toekomstige bedreigingen, BSc Future Planet Studies, University of Amsterdam (2012-2017)
  • Gone with the wind: aeolian landforms and phenomena. Part of the courseSoil and Landscape Degradation, MSc Earth Sciences, University of Amsterdam (2018, 2019)
  • Planetaire grenzen: Op zoek naar een reserveplaneet voor de aarde? Part of the course: Toekomstige uitdagingen en innovatieve oplossingen, BSc Future Planet Studies, University of Amsterdam (2016)
Available student projects

Public outreach

  • Contributed to various news outlets to explain developments in planetary science, space exploration and meteoritics. Notable examples include Klokhuis, RTL Late Night, DWDD, Zapp Live, NOS, Heel Nederland Kijkt Sterren, De Kennis van Nu, National Geographic.
  • President of the Royal Netherlands Association for Meteorology and Astronomy (KNVWS), and secretary of its Meteor Section. The latter aims to promote meteor astronomy and contributes to the search and recovery of meteorites, fostering e.g. the Pro-Am collaboration between Naturalis and other groups in The Netherlands.
  • Public speaker with a diverse track record, currently focussed on promoting geosciences in the solar system, aiming to cross-pollinate the fields of geology and astronomy. I also contribute to public events at the Naturalis museum to talk about the exciting research that we can do with meteorites.
  • My 3D model of the main mass of the 1843 Utrecht meteorite (aka. ‘Blaauwkapel’), has been used by Museum for one day, a social inclusive initiative to bring museum objects and their stories to senior citizens.
  • Author of the popular scientific book ‘Praktisch planeetonderzoek voor de zaterdagochtend’ (Lebowksi Publishers, 2016. in: Dutch).

More at: www.planeetonderzoeker.nl


Langbroek, M., Jenniskens, P., Kriegsman, L.M., Nieuwenhuis, H., de Kort, N., Kuiper, J., van Westrenen, W., Zolensky, M.E., Ziegler, K., Yin, Q-Z., Sanborn, M.E., Wimpenny, J., Yamakawa, A., de Vet, S.J., Meier, M.M.M., Welten, K.C., Nishiizumi K., Burton, A.S., Dworkin, J.P., Glavin, D.P., Wu, Q., Zare, R.N., Ruf, A., Harir, M., Schmitt-kopplin, P., 2019. The CM carbonaceous chondrite regolith Diepenveen. Meteoritics and Planetary Science, doi:10.1111/maps.13297

Bart M.C., de Vet S.J., de Bakker D.M., Alexander B.E., van Oevelen D., van Loon E.E., van Loon J.J.W.A., de Goeij J.M. 2019. Spiculous skeleton formation in the freshwater sponge Ephydatia fluviatilis under hypergravity conditions. PeerJ, doi:10.7717/peerj.6055

More published work can be found at my ORCID record.