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 Geophysics & Planetary Geosciences (3223): People
Kathryn  Stack Morgan's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-601
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

Kathryn Stack Morgan

Katie Stack Morgan is a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with interests in Martian sedimentology, stratigraphy, and orbital geologic mapping. She graduated from Williams College with a B.A. in Geosciences and Astronomy and earned a Masters and Ph.D. in Geology from Caltech. Since 2012, she has played an active role in the Mars Science Laboratory mission working on both the tactical and strategic planning sides of the mission as the geology liaison between the Curiosity rover science and engineering teams. Her research focuses on the Martian sedimentary rock record, using orbital and rover image data and the fundamental principles of stratigraphy to understand the evolution of ancient surface processes on Mars. Katie also enjoys brainstorming ways to improve the efficiency and science return of rover mission operations.

  • PhD, Geology, California Institute of Technology (2014)
  • MSc, Geology, California Institute of Technology (2011)
  • BA, Geosciences and Astronomy, Williams College (2008)

Research Interests

Sedimentary geology, Stratigraphy, Martian sedimentary deposits, Orbital image-based geologic mapping, Mars-Earth analogs


MSL - Mars Science Laboratory Icon MSL - Mars Science Laboratory

The Curiosity rover landed at Gale Crater on August 5, 2012. It is designed to search for and assess past or present habitable environments, i.e., those capable of supporting microbial life.

Professional Experience
  • JPL Research Scientist (2014-present)
  • MSL Curiosity Rover Mission Scientist (2012-present)
  • California Institute of Technology, Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant (2008-2014)

Community Service

Member of GSA, AAPG, SEPM, and AGU, Reviewer for Icarus, NASA review panel member and external reviewer, Mars Data Analysis Program and Lunar Data Analysis Program

Selected Awards
  • Mars Science Laboratory JPL Voyager Award (2015)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, MSL Science Office Development and Operations Team (2013)
  • Forbes 30 under 30 in Science and Healthcare (2013)
  • Finalist for MIT Technology Review Innovators Under 35 (2013)
  • Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences Jahns Teaching Prize (2012)
  • GSA/ExxonMobil Bighorn Basin Field Award (2012)
  • Mineralogical Society of America’s American Mineralogist Undergraduate Award (2008)
  • Williams College Freeman Foot Prize in Geology (2006)

Selected Publications
  1. STACK, K. M., C.S. Edwards, J.P. Grotzinger, S. Gupta, D.Y. Sumner, F.J. Calef, III, L.A. Edgar, K.S. Edgett, A.A. Fraeman, S.R. Jacob, L.L. Le Deit, K.W. Lewis, M.S. Rice, D. Rubin, R. Williams, K.H. Williford (submitted). Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars, Icarus, Special Issue: MicroMars to MegaMars.
  2. STACK, K.M. and R.E. Milliken (2015). Reflectance spectroscopy of clay-sulfate Mixtures and implications for quantifying hydrated minerals on Mars, Icarus, 250, 332-356, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2014.12.009.
  3. STACK, K.M., J.P. Grotzinger, L.C. Kah, M.E. Schmidt, N. Mangold, K.S. Edgett, D.Y. Sumner, K.L. Siebach, M Nachon, R. Lee, D.L. Blaney, L.P. Deflores, L.A. Edgar, A.G. Fairen, L.A. Leshin, S. Maurice, D.Z. Oehler, M.S. Rice, R.C. Weins (2014). Diagenetic origin of nodules in the Sheepbed member, Yellowknife Bay formation, Gale Crater, Mars, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/2014JE004617.
  4. STACK, K.M., J.P. Grotzinger, R.E. Milliken (2013). Bed Thickness Distributions on Mars: An Orbital Perspective., J. Geophys. Res., 118(6), 1323-1349.
  5. GROTZINGER, J.P., S. Gupta, D.M. Rubin, J. Schieber, K.M. Stack, A.R. Vasavada, R.E. Arvidson, F. Calef III, L. Edgar, W.F. Fischer, J.A. Grant, L.C. Kah, M.P. Lamb, K.W. Lewis, N. Mangold, M.E. Minnitti, M. Palucis, M. Rice, K. Siebach, R.M.E. Williams, R.A. Yingst, D. Blake, D. Blaney, P. Conrad, J. Crisp, W.E. Dietrich, G. Dromart, K.S. Edgett, R.C. Ewing, R. Gellert, J. Griffes, J.A. Hurowitz, G. Kocurek, P. Mahaffy, M.C. Malin, M.J. McBride, S.M. McLennan, M. Mischna, D. Ming, R. Milliken, H. Newsom, D. Oehler, T.J. Parker, D. Vaniman, R.C. Wiens, S.A. Wilson (accepted). Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale Crater, Mars, Science.
  6. MANGOLD, N., O.  Forni, G. Dromart, K. Stack, R. Wiens, O. Gasnault, D. Sumner, M. Nachon, P.-Y. Meslin, R. Anderson, B. Barraclough, J. Bell, G. Berger, D. Blaney, J. Bridges, F. Calef, B. Clark, S. Clegg, A. Cousin, L. Edgar, K. Edgett, B. Ehlmann, C. Fabre, M. Fisk, J. Grotzinger, S. Gupta, K. Herkenhoff, J. Horowitz, J. Johnson, L. Kah, N. Lanza, J. Lasue, S. Le Mouelic, R. Leveille, E. Lewin, M.C. Malin, S. McLennan, S. Maurice, N. Melikechi, A. Mezzacappa, R. Milliken, H.E. Newsom, A. Ollila, S. Rowland, V. Sautter, M. Schmidt, S. Schroder, C. d’Uston, D. Vaniman, R. Williams (2015), Chemical variations of Yellowknife Bay Formation sediments analyzed by the Curiosity Rover on Mars, J. Geophys. Res., accepted.
  7. SIEBACH K.L., J.P. Grotzinger, L.C. Kah, K.M. Stack, M. Malin, R. Leveille, D.Y. Sumner (2014). Subaqueous Shrinkage Cracks in the Sheepbed Mudstone: Implications for Early Fluid Diagenesis, Gale Crater, Mars, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/2014JE004623.
  8. BLANEY, D., R.C. Wiens, S. Maurice, S.M. Clegg, R.A. Anderson, L.C. Kah, S. Le Mouelic, A. Ollila, N. Bridges, R. Tokar, G. Berger, J.C. Bridges, A. Cousin, B. Clark, M.D. Dyar, P.L. King, N. Lanza, N. Mangold, P.-Y. Meslin, H. Newsom, S. Schroder, S. Rowland, J. Johnson, L. Edgar, O. Gasnault, O. Forni, M. Schmidt, W. Goetz, K. Stack, D. Sumner, M. Fisk, M.B. Madsen (2014), Chemistry and texture of the rocks at Rocknest, Gale Crater: Evidence for sedimentary origin and diagenetic alteration, J. Geophys. Res., 119(9), 2109-2131, doi:10.1002/2013JE004590.
  9. NACHON, M. S.M. Clegg, N. Mangold, S. Schroder, L.C. Kah, G. Dromart, A.M. Olilla, J.R. Johnson, D. Oehler, J.C. Bridges, S. Le Mouelic, O. Forni, R.C. Weins, R.B. Anderson, D. Blaney, J.F. Bell III, B.C. Clark, A. Cousin, D.M. Darby, B. Ehlmann, C. Fabre, O. Gasnault, J.P. Grotzinger, J. Lasue, E. Lewin, R. Leveille, S.M. McLennan, S. Maurice, P.-Y. Meslin, M.S. Rice, SW Squyres, K.M. Stack, D.Y. Sumner, D.T. Vaniman, D. Wellington (2014). Calcium sulfate veins characterized by ChemCam/Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars, J. Geophys. Res., accepted.
  10. LITVAK, M., I.G. Mitrofanov, A.B. Sanin, D. Lisov, A. Behar, W.V. Boynton, L. Deflores, F. Fedosov, D. Golovin, C. Hardgrove, K. Harshman, I. Jun, A.S. Kozyrev, R.O. Kuzmin, A. Malakhov, R. Milliken, M. Mischna, J. Moersch, M. Mokrousov, S. Nikiforov, V.N. Shvetsov, K. Stack, R. Starr, C. Tate, V.I. Tret’yakov, A. Vostrukhin, and the MSL Team (2014). Local variations of bulk hydrogen and chlorine content measured at the contact between the Sheepbed and Gillespie Lake units in Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, using the DAN instrument onboard Curiosity, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/2013JE004556.
  11. GROTZINGER J.P., D.Y. Sumner, L.C. Kah, K. Stack, S. Gupta, L. Edgar, D. Rubin, K. Lewis, J. Schieber, N. Mangold, R. Milliken, P.G. Conrad, D. DesMarais, J. Farmer, K. Siebach, F. Calef III, J. Hurowitz, S.M. McLennan, D. Ming, D. Vaniman, J. Crisp, A. Vasavada, K.S. Edgett, M. Malin, D. Blake, R. Gellert, P. Mahaffy, R.C. Wiens, S. Maurice, J.A. Grant, S. Wilson, R.C. Anderson, L. Beegle, R. Arvidson, B. Hallet, R.S. Sletten, M. Rice, J. Bell III, J. Griffes, B. Ehlmann, R.B. Anderson, T.F. Bristow, W.E. Dietrich, G. Dromart, J. Eigenbrode, A. Fraemen, C. Hardgrove, K. Herkenhoff, L. Jandura, G. Kocurek, S. Lee, L.A. Leshin, R. Leveille, D. Limonadi, J. Maki, S. McCloskey, M. Meyer, M. Minitti, H. Newsom, D. Oehler, A. Okon, M. Palucis, T. Parker, S. Rowland, M. Schmidt, S. Squyres, A. Steele, E. Stolper, R. Summons, A. Treiman, R. Williams, A. Yingst, MSL Science Team (2014). A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars, Science, doi: 10.1126/science.1242777.
  12. MCLENNAN, S.M., R.B. Anderson, J.F. Bell III, J.C. Bridges, F. Calef III, J.L. Campbell, B.C. Clark, S. Clegg, P. Conrad, A. Cousin, D.J. Des Marais, G. Dromart, M.D. Dyar, L.A. Edgar, B.L. Ehlmann, C. Fabre, O. Forni, O. Gasnault, R. Gellert, S. Gordon, J.A. Grant, J.P. Grotzinger, S. Gupta, K.E. Herkenhoff, J.A. Horowitz, P.L. King, S. Le Mouelic, L.A. Leshin, R. Leveille, K.W. Lewis, N. Mangold, S. Maurice, D.W. Ming, R.V. Morris, M. Nachon, H.E. Newsom, A.M. Ollila, G.M. Perrett, M.S. Rice, M.E. Schmidt, S.P. Schwenzer, K. Stack, E.M. Stolper, D.Y. Sumner, A.H. Treiman, S. VanBommel, D.T. Vaniman, A. Vasavada, R.C. Wiens, R.A. Yingst, MSL Science Team (2014). Elemental Geochemistry of Sedimentary Rocks in Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars, Science, doi: 10.1126/science.1244734.
  13. VANIMAN, D.T., D.L. Bish, D.W. Ming, T.F. Bristow, R.V. Morris, D.F. Blake, S.J. Chipera, S.M. Morrison, A.H. Treiman, E.B. Rampe, M. Rice, C.N. Achilles, J.P. Grotzinger, S.M. McLennan, J. Williams, J.F. Bell III, H.E. Newsom, R.T. Downs, S. Maurice, P. Sarrazin, A.S. Yen, J.M. Morookian, J.D. Farmer, K. Stack, R.E. Milliken, B.L. Ehlmann, D.Y. Sumner, G. Berger, J.A. Crisp, J.A. Horowitz, R. Anderson, D.J. Des Marais, E.M. Stolper, K.S. Edgett, S. Gupta, N. Spanovich, MSL Science Team (2014). Mineralogy of a Mudstone on Mars, Science, doi: 10.1126/science.1243480.
  14. WILLIAMS, R.M.E., J.P. Grotzinger, W.E. Dietrich, S. Gupta, D.Y. Sumner, R.C. Wiens, N. Mangold, M.C. Malin, K.S. Edgett, S. Maurice, O. Forni, O. Gasnault, A. Ollila, H.E. Newsom, G. Dromart, M.C. Palucis, R.A. Yingst, R.B. Anderson, K.E. Herkenhoff, S. Le Mouelic, W. Goetz, M.B. Madsen, A. Koefoed, J.K. Jensen, J.C. Bridges, S.P. Schwenzer, K.W. Lewis, K.M. Stack, D. Rubin, L.C. Kah, J.F. Bell III, J.D. Farmer, R. Sullivan, T. Van Beek, D.L. Blaney, O. Pariser, R.G. Deen, MSL Science Team (2013). Martian Fluvial Conglomerates at Gale Crater, Science, 340(6136), 1068-1072.
  15. SCHMIDT, M., J.L. Campbell, R. Gellert, G.M. Perrett, A.H. Treiman, D.L. Blaney, A. Olilla, F.J. Calef III, L. Edgar, B.E. Elliott, J. Grotzinger, J. Horowitz, P.L. King, M.E. Minitti, V. Sautter, K. Stack, J.A. Berger, J.C. Bridges, B.L. Ehlmann, O. Forni, L.A. Leshin, K.W. Lewis, S.M. McLennan, D.W. Ming, H. Newsom, I. Pradler, S.W. Squyres, E.M. Stolper, L. Thompson, S. VanBommel, R.C. Wiens (2013). Volatile element enrichment and geochemical diversity in rocks examined by the MSL Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) along Bradbury Rise, Gale Crater, J. Geophys. Res., doi: 10.1002/2013JE004481.
  16. FRAEMAN A.A., R.E. Arvidson, J.G. Catalano, J.P. Grotzinger, R.V. Morris, S.L. Murchie, K.M. Stack, D.C. Humm, J.A. McGovern, F.P. Seelos, K.D. Seelos, C.E. Viviano (2013). Detection and Mapping of a Hematite Capping Ridge in Gale Crater, Mars and Implications for Past Aqueous Conditions, Geology, doi:10.1130/G34613.1.
  17. CREVELING, J.R., D. Fernandez-Remolar, M. Rodgriguez-Martinez, S. Menendez, K.D. Bergmann, B.C. Gill, J. Abelson, R. Amils, B.L. Ehlmann, D.C. Garcia-Bellido, J.P. Grotzinger, C. Hallmann, K.M. Stack, A.H. Knoll (2013). Geobiology of a Lower Cambrian carbonate platform, Pedroche Formation, Ossa Morena Zone, Spain., Palaeo-3, 386, 459-478.
  18. BEYER, R., K. Stack, J.L. Griffes, R.E. Milliken, K.E. Herkenhoff, S. Byrne, J.W. Holt, J.P. Grotzinger (2011). An atlas of Mars sedimentary rocks as seen by HiRISE, Sedimentary Geology of Mars, eds. J.P. Grotzinger and R.E. Milliken, SEPM Special Publication No. 102.

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