Dr. Sarah K. Carmichael


Dr. Carmichael is a geochemist who specializes in fluid-rock reactions in both ancient and modern environments. Her current research explores the paleogeographic controls on Late Devonian mass extinctions, fluid-rock reactions in carbonates, the geomicrobiology of cave mineral deposits and acid mine drainage sites, and the role of microbes in manganese ore formation.

Dr. Carmichael is also a member of the Appalachian Studies Faculty and teaches introductory, interdisciplinary, and advanced undergraduate classes and is the faculty mentor for first generation students in the GES department.  She recently won a Board of Governors Teaching Award in 2020. In addition, she became a National Geographic Explorer in 2018 and in 2022 was named one of the Explorers Club 50 - fifty people changing the world who the world needs to know about.


  • B.A. Smith College
  • M.A. Johns Hopkins University
  • Ph.D. Johns Hopkins University

Research Interests

  • geomicrobiology of caves
  • manganese mineralogy
  • geochemistry of mass extinctions
  • Late Devonian paleogeography and paleoenvironments
  • fluid-rock reactions in carbonates

Courses Taught

  • GES 1101 - Introduction to Physical Geology
  • GES 2301 - Energy Extraction in Appalachia - Past, Present, and Future (cross-listed with Appalachian Studies)
  • GLY 2750 - Preparation for Careers in the Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • GES 2751 - Geology Field Methods
  • GES 3715 - Petrology & Petrography
  • GES 5500 - Geomicrobiology Research Methods

Website(s) and CV

 Selected Recent Publications (* denotes student advisee)

Visit Dr. Carmichael's profile on Google Scholar.

  • Ariuntogos, M., Königshof, P., Hartenfels, S., Jansen, U., Nazik, A., Carmichael, S. K., Waters, J. A., Sersmaa, G., Crônier, C., Ariunchimeg, Y., *Paschall, O. C., and *Dombrowski, A., 2020, The Hushoot Shiveetiin gol section (Baruunhuurai Terrane): Sedimentology and facies from a Late Devonian island arc setting. Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments (special issue: The Central Asian Orogenic Belt (CAOB) during Late Devonian: new insights from southern Mongolia) (DOI: 10.1007/s12549-020-00445-0)
  • Carmichael, S. K., Waters, J. A., Königsof, P., Suttner, T. J., & Kido, E. (2019). Paleogeography and paleoenvironments of the Late Devonian Kellwasser event: A review of its sedimentological and geochemical expression. Global and Planetary Change, 102984. 
  • *Paschall, O., Carmichael, S. K., Königshof, P., Waters, J. A., Ta, P. H., Komatsu, T., & *Dombrowski, A. (2019). The Devonian-Carboniferous boundary in Vietnam: Sustained ocean anoxia with a volcanic trigger for the Hangenberg Crisis?. Global and Planetary Change175, 64-81.
  • Carmichael, S. K., Doctor, D. H., Wilson, C. G., *Feierstein, J., & McAleer, R. J. (2017). New insight into the origin of manganese oxide ore deposits in the Appalachian Valley and Ridge of northeastern Tennessee and northern Virginia, USA. GSA Bulletin129(9-10), 1158-1180.
  • *Mara LC Cloutier, Sarah K Carmichael, Michael A Carson, Michael D Madrich, and Suzanna Bräuer, 2017, Carbon quantity and quality drives variation in cave microbial communities and regulates Mn(II) oxidation, Biogeochemistry, v. 134, p. 77–94
Title: Professor: Fluid-Rock Geochemistry and Biomineralogy, (she/her/hers)
Department: Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-8471