Dr. Sarah K. Carmichael


Dr. Carmichael joined the department in 2007 after a postdoc exploring the bottom of the ocean with the DSV Alvin and ROV Jason.  She is a 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, geochemical tracers of mass extinctions, the geomicrobiology of cave mineral deposits and acid mine drainage sites, and the role of microbes in manganese ore formation.

Dr. Carmichael is 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 won the 2014 William C. Strickland Outstanding Junior Faculty Award and the 2013 Wayne D. Duncan Faculty Enrichment and Teaching Fellowship for Excellence in Teaching in General Education, and was named a Fellow of the Explorer's Club in 2016 and became a National Geographic Explorer in 2018.


  • 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

  • GLY 1101 - Introduction to Physical Geology
  • GLY 2301 - Energy Extraction in Appalachia - Past, Present, and Future (cross-listed with Appalachian Studies)
  • GLY 2745 - Preparation of Geologic Reports
  • GLY 3715 - Petrology & Petrography
  • GLY 5500 - Geomicrobiology Research Methods

Website(s) and CV

 Recent Publications (* denotes student author)

Visit Dr. Carmichael's profile on Google Scholar.

  • 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.
  • Suttner, T.J., Kido, E., Ariunchimeg, Y., Sersmaa, G., Waters, J.A., Carmichael, S.K., *Batchelor, C.J., *Ariuntogos, M., *Hušková, A., Slavík, L. and Valenzuela-Ríos, J.I. (2019). Conodonts from Late Devonian island arc settings (Baruunhuurai Terrane, western Mongolia). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.
  • 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
Department: Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences

Email address: Email me

Phone: (828) 262-8471