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 Planetary Interiors and Geophysics (3226): People
Karl  Mitchell's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-601
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109-8099
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Curriculum Vitae:

Karl Mitchell

  • B. Sc. (hons.) in Physics with Space Science and Technology, Leicester University (1995)
  • M.Sc./D.I.C. in Remote Sensing (Land Applications option), University of London (intercollegiate) (1996)
  • Ph.D. in Environmental Sci., Lancaster University (2002)

Research Interests
  • Planetary science
    • The lakes and seas of Titan, from Cassini RADAR
    • Cryovolcanism and volcanism (Io, Titan, Mars, Venus, Enceladus, Europa, Triton)
    • Titan and Mars hydrology
    • Habitability of ocean worlds
  • Geological fluid dynamics
    • Volcanic ascent and eruption dynamics
    • Relationship between volcanic landforms and eruption models
    • Hydrologic channel flow
  • Remote sensing
    • Topographic remote sensing of planetary surfaces
    • Orbital stereo photogrammetry
  • Mission and technology development
    • Cave and vent exploration technologies
    • Active radar remote sensing
    • Sub-mm instrumentation
    • Science formulation and traceability


Cassini-Huygens Icon Cassini-Huygens
The Cassini-Huygens spacecraft explored the ringed planet, its mysterious moons, the stunning rings and its complex magnetic environment.

Professional Experience
  • Science Legacy Planner (TOST), Cassini (2017-present)
  • Science Planner (TOST), Cassini (2015-2017)
  • Science Mentor, NASA Planetary Science Summer School (2012-present)
  • Associate, Cassini RADAR Team (2005-present)
  • Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2008-present)
  • NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate/NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2005-2008)
  • PPARC Postdoctoral Research Assistant, Environmental Science Department, Lancaster University (2001-2005)
  • Research Assistant, Department of Geomatic Engineering, University College, London (1999-2001)
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Assistant, Leicester University (1994, 1995)

Selected Publications
  1. Head, J. W., Wilson, L. and Mitchell, K. L. (2003) Generation of recent massive water floods at Cerberus Fossae, Mars by dike emplacement, cryospheric cracking, and confined aquifer groundwater release. Geophys. Res. Lett. 30(11), 1577, doi:10.1029/2003GL017135.
  2. Wilson, L., Ghatan, G. J., Head, J. W. and Mitchell, K. L. (2004) Mars outflow channels: A reappraisal of the estimation of water flow velocities from water depths, regional slopes, and channel floor properties. J. Geophys. Res. 109, E09003, doi:10.1029/2004JE002281.
  3. Mitchell, K. L. (2005) Coupled conduit flow and shape in explosive volcanic eruptions.  J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2004.09.017.
  4. Lorenz, R. D., Wall, S., Radebaugh, J., Boubin, G., Reffet, E., Janssen, M., Stofan, E., Lopes, R., Kirk, R., Elachi, C., Lunine, J., Mitchell, K., Paganelli, F., Soderblom, L., Wood, C., Wye, L., Zebker, H., Anderson, Y., Ostro, S., Allison, M., Boehmer, R., Callahan, P., Encrenaz, P., Ori, G. G., Francescetti, G., Gim, Y., Hamilton, G., Hensley, S., Johnson, W., Kelleher, K., Muhleman, D., Picardi, G., Posa, F., Roth, L., Seu, R., Shaffer, S., Stiles, B., Vetrella, S., Flamini, E. and West, R. (2006) The sand seas of Titan: Cassini RADAR observations of longitudinal dunes. Science 312, 724-727.
  5. Keszthelyi, L., Jaeger, W., Milazzo, M., Radebaugh, J., Davies, A. G. and Mitchell, K. L. (2007) New estimates for Io eruption temperatures: Implications for the interior.  Icarus 192, 491-502.
  6. Leask, H. J., Wilson, L. and Mitchell, K. L. (2007) Formation of Mangala Valles outflow channel, Mars: Morphological development, and water discharge and duration estimates. J. Geophys. Res. 112, E02011, doi:10.1029/2005JE002644.
  7. Leask, H. J., Wilson, L. and Mitchell, K. L. (2007) Formation of Memnonia Fossa, the source of the Mangala Valles, Mars: Morphological development as a result of volcano-ice interactions. J. Geophys. Res., 112, E02011, doi:10.1029/2005JE002644.
  8. Lopes, R. M. C., Mitchell, K. L., Stofan, E. R., Lunine, J. I., Lorenz, R., Kirk, R. L., Wood, C. A., Wall, S. D., Robshaw, L. E., Fortes, A. D., Neish, C. D., Radebaugh, J., Reffet, E., Ostro, S. J., Elachi, C., Allison, M. D., Anderson, Y., Boehmer, R., Boubin, G., Callahan, P., Encrenaz, P., Flamini, E., Francescetti, G., Gim, Y., Hamilton, G., Hensley, S., Janssen, M. A., Johnson, W. T. K., Kelleher, K., Muhleman, D. O., Ori, G., Orosei, R., Picardi, G., Posa, F., Roth, L. E., Seu, R., Shaffer, S., Soderblom, L. A., Stiles, B., Vetrella, S., West, R. D., Wye, L. and Zebker, H. A. (2007) Cryovolcanic features on Titan’s surface as revealed by the Cassini Radar. Icarus 186, 395-412.
  9. Lorenz, R. D., Wood, C. A., Lunine, J. I., Wall, S. D., Lopes, R. M., Mitchell, K. L., Paganelli, F., Anderson, Y. Z., Wye, L., Tsai, C., Zebker, H. and Stofan, E. R. (2007) Titan’s young surface: Initial impact crater survey by Cassini RADAR and model comparison.  Geophys. Res. Lett. 34, L07204, doi:10.1029/2006GL028971.
  10. Muller, J.-P., Denis, M.-A., Dundas, R. D., Mitchell, K. L., Naud, C. and Mannstein, H. (2007) Stereo cloud-top heights and cloud fraction retrieval from ATSR2. Int. J. Remote Sens. 28(9), 1921-1938.
  11. Naud, C., Mitchell, K. L., Muller, J.-P., Clothiaux, E. E., Albert, P., Preusker, R., Fischer, J. and Hogan, R. J. (2007) Comparison between ATSR2 stereo, MOS O2-A band and ground-based cloud top heights. Int. J. Remote Sens. 28(9), 1969-1987.
  12. Stofan, E. R., Elachi, C., Lunine, J. I., Stiles, B., Mitchell, K. L., Ostro, S., Soderblom, L., Wood, C., Zebker, H., Wall, S., Janssen, M., Kirk, R., Lopes, R., Paganelli, F., Radebaugh, J., Wye, L., Anderson, Y., Allison, M., Boehmer, R., Callahan, P., Encrenaz, P., Flamini, E., Francescetti, G., Gim, Y., Hamilton, G., Hensley, S., Johnson, W. T. K., Kelleher, K., Muhleman, D., Paillou, P., Picardi, G., Posa, F., Roth, L., Seu, R., Shaffer, S., Vetrella, S. and West, R. (2007) The lakes of Titan. Nature 445, 61-64.
  13. Lorenz, R. D., Lopes, R. M., Paganelli, F., Lunine, J. I., Kirk, R. L., Mitchell, K. L., Soderblom, L. A., Stofan, E. R., Ori, G., Myers, M., Miyamoto, H., Radebaugh, J., Stiles, B., Wall, S. D., Wood, C. A. and the Cassini RADAR Team (2008) Fluvial channels on Titan: Initial Cassini RADAR observations.  Planet. Space Sci., 56(8), 1132-1144.
  14. Hayes, A., Aharonson, O., Lewis, K., Mitchell, K. L., Lorenz, R., Callahan, P., Lunine, J., Lopes, R., Wall, S., Elachi, C., Mitri, G., Kirk, R., Gim, Y., Stofan, E. and the Cassini RADAR Team (2008) Hydrocarbon lakes on Titan: Distribution and interaction with a porous regolith. Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L09204, doi:10.1029/2008GL033409.
  15. Lorenz, R. D., Mitchell, K. L., Kirk, R. L., Hayes, A. G., Aharonson, O., Zebker, H. A., Paillou, P., Radebaugh, J., Lunine, J. I., Janssen, M. A., Wall, S. D., Lopes, R. M., Stiles, B., Ostro, S., Mitri, G. and Stofan, E. R. (2008) Titan’s inventory of organic surface materials.  Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L02206, doi:10.1029/2007GL032118.
  16. Paillou, P., Mitchell, K., Wall, S., Ruffié, G., Wood, C., Lorenz, R., Stofan, E., Lunine, J., Lopes, R. and Encrenaz, P. (2008) Microwave dielectric constant of liquid hydrocarbons: Application to the depth estimation of Titan’s lakes.  Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L05202, doi:10.1029/2007GL032515.
  17. Burr, D. M., Jacobsen, R. E., Roth, D. L., Phillips, C. B., Mitchell, K. L. and Viola, D. (2009) Fluvial network analysis on Titan: Evidence for subsurface structures and west-to-east wind flow, southwestern Xanadu.  Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L22203, doi:10.1029/2009GL040909.
  18. Nelson, R. M., Kamp, L. W., Lopes, R. M. C., Matson, D. L., Kirk, R. L., Hapke, B. W., Wall, S. D., Boryta, M. D., Leader, F. E., Smythe, W. D., Mitchell, K. L., Baines, K. H., Jaumann, R., Sotin, C., Clark, R. N., Cruikshank, D. P., Drossart, P., Lunine, J. I., Combes, M., Bellucci, G., Bibring, J.-P., Capaccioni, F., Cerroni, P., Coradini, A., Formisiano, V., Filacchione, G., Langevin, Y., McCord, T. B., Mennella, V., Nicholson, P. D., Sicardy, B., Irwin, P. G. J. and Pearl, J. C. (2009) Photometric changes on Saturn’s Titan: Evidence for active cryovolcanism.  Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L04202, doi:10.1029/2008GL036206.
  19. Wall, S. D., Lopes, R. M., Stofan, E. R., Wood, C. A., Radebaugh, J. L., Hörst, S. M., Stiles, B. W., Nelson, R. M., Kamp, L. W., Janssen, M. A., Lorenz, R. D., Lunine, J. I., Farr, T. G., Mitri, G., Paillou, P., Paganelli, F. and Mitchell, K. L. (2009) Cassini RADAR images at Hotei Arcus and western Xanadu, Titan: Evidence for geologically recent cryovolcanic activity.  Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L04203, doi:10.1029/2008GL036415.
  20. Stiles, B. W., Hensley, S., Gim, Y., Bates, D. M., Kirk, R. L., Hayes, A., Radebaugh, J., Lorenz, R. D., Mitchell, K. L., Callahan, P. S., Zebker, H., Johnson, W. T. K., Wall, S. D., Lunine, J. I., Wood, C. A., Janssen, M., Pelletier, F., West, R. D., Veeramacheneni, C. and the Cassini RADAR Team (2009) Determining Titan surface topography from Cassini SAR data. Icarus 202, 584-598.
  21. Zhong, F., Mitchell, K. L., Hays, C. C., Choukroun, M., Barmatz, M., and Kargel, J. S. (2009) The rheology of cryovolcanic slurries: motivation and phenomenology of methanol-water slurries with implications for Titan. Icarus 202, 607-619.
  22. Lopes, R. M. C., Stofan, E. R., Peckyno, R., Radebaugh, J., Mitchell, K. L., Mitri, H. Wood, C. A., Kirk, R. L., Wall, S. D., Lunine, J. I., Hayes, A., Farr, T., Wye, L., Craig, J., Ollerenshaw, R. J., Janssen, M., LeGall, A., Paganelli, F., West, R., Stiles, B., Callahan, P., Anderson, Y., Valora, P. and Soderblom, L. (2010) Distribution and interplay of geologic processes on Titan from Cassini RADAR data.  Icarus 205, 540-558.
  23. Lopes, R. M. C., Mitchell, K. L., Williams, D. A. and Mitri, G. (2010) Beyond Earth: How extraterrestrial volcanism has changed our definition of a volcano.  Geol. Soc. Am. Spec. Paper 420, 11-30.
  24. Wall, S. D., Hayes, A., Bristow, C., Lorenz, R. D., Stofan, E., Lunine, J. LeGall, A., Janssen, M. W., Wye, L., Soderblom, L. A., Paillou, P., Aharonson, O., Zebker, H. A., Farr, T., Mitri, G., Kirk, R., Mitchell, K., Notarnicola, C. Casarano, D., Venturo, B. (2010) Active shoreline of Ontario Lacus, Titan: a morphological study of the lake and its surroundings.  Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L05202, doi:10.1029/2009GL041821.
  25. Wood, C. A., Lorenz, R., Kirk, R., Lopes, R., Mitchell, K. and Stofan, E. (2010) Impact craters on Titan.  Icarus, 206, 334-344.
  26. Ghail, R. C., Wilson, C., Galand, M., Hall, D., Cochrane, C., Mason, P., Helbert, J., Montmessin, F., Limaye, S., Patel, M., Wahlund, J.-E., Rocca, F., Mather, T., Waltham, D., Genge, M., Paillou, P. and Mitchell, K. (2011) EnVision: taking the pulse of our twin planet. Experimental Astronomy, doi:10.1007/s10686-
  27. Hayes, A. G., Aharonson, O., Lunine, J. I., Kirk, R. L., Zebker, H. A., Wye, L. C., Lorenz, R. D., Turtle, E. P., Paillou, P., Mitri, G., Wall, S. D., Stofan, E. R., Mitchell, K. L., Elachi, C. and the Cassini RADAR Team (2011) Transient surface liquid in Titan’s polar regions from Cassini.  Icarus 211, 655-671.
  28. Radebaugh, J., Lorenz, R. D., Wall, S. D., Kirk, R. L., Wood, C. A., Lunine, J. I., Stofan, E. R., Lopes, R. M. C., Valora, P., Farr, T. G., Hayes, A., Stiles, B., Mitri, G., Zebker, H., Janssen, M., Wye, L., LeGall, A., Mitchell, K. L., Paganelli, F., West, R. D., Schaller, E. L. and the Cassini Radar Team (2011) Regional geomorphology and history of Titan’s Xanadu province.  Icarus 211, 672-685.
  29. Lopes, R. M. C., Kirk, R. L., Mitchell, K. L., LeGall, A., Barnes, J. W., Hayes, A., Kargel, J., Wye, L., Radebaugh, J., Stofan, E. R., Janssen, M., Neish, C., Wall, S., Wood, C. A. and Lunine, J. I. (2013) Cryovolcanism on Titan: New results from Cassini RADAR and VIMS. J. Geophys. Res. 118, 1-20, doi:10.1002/jgre.20062.
  30. Neish, C. D., Kirk, R. L., Lorenz, R. D., Bray, V. J., Schenk, P., Stiles, B., Turtle, E., Mitchell, K.,  Hayes, A. and the Cassini RADAR Team (2013) Crater topography on Titan: Implications for landscape evolution. Icarus 223, 82-90.
  31. Hofgartner, J., D., Hayes, A., Lunine, J., Zebker, H., Stiles, B., Sotin, C, Barnes, J. W., Turtle, E., Baines, K., Brown, R., Buratti, B., Clark, R., Encrenaz, P., Kirk, R., Le Gall, A., Lopes, R., Lorenz, R., Malaska, M., Mitchell, K., Nicholson, P., Paillou, Ph., Radebaugh, J., Wall, S. and Wood, C. (2014) The discovery of transient features in a Titan sea. Nature Geoscience 7, 493-496.
  32. Mitchell, K. L., Barmatz, M., Jamieson, C. S., Lorenz, R. D. and Lunine, J. I. (2015) Laboratory measurements of cryogenic liquid alkane microwave absorptivity and implications for the composition of Ligeia Mare, Titan.  Geophys. Res. Lett. 42, 1340-1345.
  33. Lopes, R. M. C., Malaska, M. J., Solomonidou, A., Le Gall, A., Janssen, M. A., Neish, C. D., Turtle, E. P., Birch, S. P. D., Hayes, A. G., Radebaugh, J., Coustenis, A., Schoenfeld, A., Stiles, B. W., Kirk, R. L., Mitchell, K. L., Stofan, E. R., Lawrence, K. K. and the Cassini RADAR Team (2016) Nature, Distribution, and Origin of Titan’s Undifferentiated Plains. Icarus 270, 162-182.
  34. Janssen, M. A., Le Gall, A., Lopes, R. M., Lorenz, R. D., Malaska, M. J., Hayes, A. G., Neish, C. D., Solomonidou, A., Mitchell, K. L., Radebaugh, J., Keihm, S. K., Choukroun, M., Leyrat, C., Encrenaz, P. J. and Mastrogiuseppe, M. (2016) Titan’s Surface at 2.18-cm Wavelength Imaged by the Cassini RADAR Radiometer: Results and Interpretations through the First Ten Years of Observation. Icarus 270, 443-459.
  35. Parcheta, C. E., Pavlov, C. A., Wiltsie, N., Carpenter, K. C., Nash, J., Parness, A. and Mitchell, K. L. (2016) A Robotic Approach to Mapping Volcanic Fissure Conduits.  J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 320, 19-28.
  36. Horvath, D. G., Andrews-Hanna, J. C., Newman, C. E., Mitchell, K. L. and Stiles, B. W. (2016)  The influence of subsurface flow on lake formation and north polar lake distribution on Titan. Icarus 277, 103-124.
  37. MacKenzie, S., Caswell, T. E., Phillips-Lander, C. M., Stavros, E. M., Hofgartner, J. D., Sun, V. Z., Powell, K. E., Steuer, C. K., O'Rourke, J. G., Dhaliwal, J. K., Leung, C. W. S, Petro, E. M., Wynne, J., J., Phan, S., Crismani, M., Krishnamurthy, A., John, K. K., DeBruin, K., Budney, C. J. and Mitchell, K. L. (2016) THEO Concept Mission: Testing the Habitability of Enceladus's Ocean. Adv. Space Res. 58, 1117-1137.
  38. Hayes, A. G., Birch, S., Dietrich, W., Howard, A., Kirk, R. L., Poggiali, V., Mastrogiuseppe, M., Michaelides, R., Corlies, P., Moore, J., Malaska, M., Mitchell, K. L., Lorenz, R. D. and Wood, C. (2017) Topographic constraints on the evolution and connectivity of Titan’s lacustrine basins. Geophys. Res. Lett. 44, 11745-11753.
  39. Mastrogiuseppe, M., Hayes, A. G., Poggiali, V., Lunine, J. I., Lorenz, R. D., Seu, R., Le Gall, A., Notarnicola, C., Mitchell, K. L., Malaska, M. and Birch, S. P. D. (2018) Bathymetry and composition of Titan’s Ontario Lacus derived from Monte Carlo-based waveform inversion of Cassini RADAR altimetry data.  Icarus 300, 203-209.
  40.  Elder, C. M., Bramson, A. M., Blum, L. W., Chilton, H. T., Chopra, A., Chu, C., Das, A. Davis, A. B., Delgado, A., Fulton, J., Jozwiak, L. M., Khayat, A., Landis, M. E., Molaro, J. L., Slipski, M., Valencia, S., Watkins, J., Young, C. L., Budney, C. J. and Mitchell, K. L. (2018) OCEANUS: A high science return Uranus orbiter with a low-cost instrument suite.  Acta Astronautica, in press.

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