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Kathryn Stack Morgan

Photo of Kathryn Stack Morgan


4800 Oak Grove Drive
M/S 321-400

Pasadena, CA 91109



Curriculum Vitae:

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Member of:

Planetary Geosciences


Katie Stack Morgan is a research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with interests in Martian sedimentology, stratigraphy, and geologic mapping of planetary surfaces. Her research focuses on the Martian sedimentary rock record, using orbiter and rover image data to understand the evolution of ancient surface processes on Mars. Katie is the Deputy Project Scientist of the Mars 2020 rover mission. Katie has also been a member of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Science Team since 2012 and is currently a funded Participating Scientist on the mission.


  • PhD, Geology, California Institute of Technology (2015)
  • MSc, Geology, California Institute of Technology (2011)
  • BA, Geosciences and Astronomy, Williams College (2008)

Professional Experience

  • Deputy Project Scientist, Mars 2020 Rover Mission (2017-present)
  • Participating Scientist, Mars Science Laboratory Mission (2016-present)
  • Research Scientist, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Geophysics and Planetary Geosciences Group (2014-present)
  • Collaborator, Science Office, Mars Science Laboratory (2012-2016)

Community Service

Member of GSA, Reviewer for Icarus, JGR-Planets, Nature Geosciences, Planetary and Space Science, Marine Geology, Geophysical Research Letters, and Geologos,  NASA review panel member and external reviewer, Mars Data Analysis Program and Lunar Data Analysis Program

Research Interests

Mars Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Geologic Mapping

Selected Awards

  • Mars 2020 Project Voyager Award (2019,2020)
  • NASA Software of the Year Award (2018)
  • Mars Exploration Directorate Mars 2020 Voyager Award (2018)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award, MSL Extended Mission-1 Science and Operations Team (2017)
  • Mars Exploration Directorate Team Award (2016)
  • 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)
  • 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., J.P. Grotzinger, M.P. Lamb, S. Gupta, D.M. Rubin, L.C. Kah, L.A. Edgar, D.M. Fey, J.A. Hurowitz, M. McBride, F. Rivera-Hernandez, D.Y. Sumner, J.K. Van Beek, R.M.E. Williams, R. Aileen Yingst (2019), "Evidence for plunging river plume deposits in the Pahrump Hills member of the Murray formation, Gale crater, Mars," Sedimentology, 66(5) 1768-1802.
  2. 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.M.E. Williams, K.H. Williford (2016). Comparing orbiter and rover image-based mapping of an ancient sedimentary environment, Aeolis Palus, Gale crater, Mars, Icarus, Special Issue: MicroMars to MegaMars, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2016.02.024.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. Wiens (2014). Diagenetic origin of nodules in the Sheepbed member, Yellowknife Bay formation, Gale Crater, Mars, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1002/2014JE004617.
  5. 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.
  6. SUN, V.Z. and K.M. Stack, "Geologic Map of Jezero Crater and the Nili Planum Region, Mars," USGS Scientific Investigations Map (SIM). In print.
  7. FRAEMAN, A.A., L.A. Edgar, E.B. Rampe, L.M. Thompson, J. Frydenvang, C.M. Fedo, J.G. Catalano, W.E. Dietrich, T.S.J. Gabriel, A.R. Vasavada, J.P. Grotzinger, J. L'Haridon, N. Mangold, V.Z. Sun, C.H. House, A.B. Bryk, C. Hardgrove, S. Czarnecki,K.M. Stack, R.V. Morris, R.E. Arvidson, S.G. Banham, K.A. Bennett, J.C. Bridges, C.S. Edwards, W.W. Fischer, V.K. Fox, S. Gupta, B.H.N. Horgan, S.R. Jacob, J.R. Johnson, S.S. Johnson, D.M. Rubin, M.R. Salvatore, S.P. Schwenzer, K.L. Siebach, N.T. Stein, S. Turner, D.F. Wellington, R.C. Wiens, A.J. Williams, G. David, G.M. Wong, "Evidence for a Diagenetic Origin of Vera Rubin Ridge, Gale Crater, Mars: Summary and Synthesis of Curiosity's Exploration Campaign," JGR.-Planets,
  8. WIENS, R.C., K.S. Edgett, K.M. Stack, W.E. Dietrich, A.B. Bryck, N. Mangold, C. Bedford, P. Gasda, A. Fairen, L. Thompson, J. Johnson, O. Gasnault, S. Clegg, A. Cousin, O. Forni, J. Frydenvang, N. Lanza, S. Maurice, H. Newsom, A. Ollila, V. Payre, F. Rivera-Hernandez, A. Vasavada, "Origin and Composition of Three Heterolithic Boulder- and Cobble-Bearing Deposits Overlying the Murray and Stimson Formations, Gale Crater, Mars" Icarus, 350,
  9. MANGOLD, N., G. Dromart, V. Ansan, F. Salese, G. D'Annunzio, M. Kleinhans, M. Masse, C. Quantin, K.M. Stack, "Fluvial Regimes, Morphometry and Age of Jezero Crater Paleolake Inlet Valleys and their Exobiological Significance for the 2020 Rover Mission Landing Site," Astrobiology, 20(8), 994-1013,
  10. STEIN, N.T., D.P. Quinn, J.P. Grotzinger, C. Fedo, B.L. Ehlmann,K.M. Stack, L.A. Edgar, A.A. Fraeman, R. Deen, "Regional structural orientation of the Mt. Sharp group revealed by in-situ dip measurements and stratigraphic correlations on the Vera Rubin ridge," JGR Planets, 125(5),
  11. EDGAR, L.A. C.M. Fedo, S. Gupta, S.G. Banham, A.A. Fraeman, J.P. Grotzinger, K.M. Stack, N.T. Stein, K.A. Bennett, F. Rivera-Hernandez, V.Z. Sun, K.S. Edgett, D.M. Rubin, C. House, J. Van Beek. (2020), "A lacustrine paleoenvironment recorded at Vera Rubin ridge, Gale crater: Overview of the sedimentology and stratigraphy observed by the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover" JGR Planets, 125(3),
  12. RIVERA-HERNÁNDEZ, F., D.Y. Sumner, N. Mangold, S.G. Banham, K.S. Edgett, C.M. Fedo, S. Gupta, S. Gwizd, E. Heydari, S. Maurice, M. Nachon, H. Newsom, J. Schieber, K. Stack-Morgan, N. Stein, R.C. Wiens (2020). Grain Size Variations in the Murray Formation: Stratigraphic Evidence for Changing Depositional Environments in Gale Crater, Mars, JGR Planets,
  13. MINITTI, M.E., M.C. Malin, J.K. Van Beek, M. Caplinger, J.N. Maki, M. Ravine, F.J. Calef, L.A. Edgar, D. Harker, K.E. Herkenhoff, L.C. Kah, M.R. Kennedy, G.M. Krezoski, R.E. Kronyak, L. Lipkaman, B. Nixon, S.K. Rowland, J. Schieber, J.F. Schroeder, K.M. Stack, R.M.E. Williams, R.A. Yingst (2019). "Distribution of primary and secondary features in the Pahrump Hills outcrop (Gale crater, Mars) as seen in a Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) "sidewalk" mosaic, Icarus, 328, 194-209.
  14. SUN, V.Z., K.M. Stack, L.C. Kah, W. Fischer, R. Wiens, S. Johnson, M. Nachon, C. House, L. Thompson, A. Williams, R. Kronyak, S. VanBommel (2019), "Late-Stage Diagenetic Concretions in the Murray Formation, Gale Crater, Mars," Icarus, 321(15), 866-890.
  15. RIVERA-HERNÁNDEZ, F., D.Y. Sumner, N. Mangold, K.M. Stack, O. Forni, H. Newsom, A. Williams, M. Nachon, J. L'Haridon, O. Gasnault, R. Wiens, S. Maurice (2019), "Using ChemCam LIBS data to constrain grain size in rocks on Mars: Proof of concept and application to rocks at Yellowknife Bay and Pahrump Hills, Gale crater," Icarus, 321, 82-98.
  16. KAH, L.C., K.M. Stack, J.L. Eigenbrode, R.A. Yingst, K.S. Edgett (2018). Syndepositional precipitation of calcium sulfate in Gale Crater, Mars, Terra Nova, 30(6), 431-439.
  17. WILLIFORD, K.H., K.A. Farley, K.M. Stack, A.C. Allwood, D. Beaty, L.W. Beegle, R. Bhartia, A.J. Brown, M. de la Torre Juarez, S.-E. Hamran, M.H. Hecht, J. Hurowitz, J.A. Rodriguez-Manfredi, S. Maurice, S. Milkovich, R.C. Wiens (2018). The NASA Mars 2020 Rover Mission and the Serach for Extraterrestrial Life, From Habitability to Life on Mars, eds. N.A. Cabrol and E.A. Grin, Elsevier, p. 370.
  18. STEIN, N., J.P. Grotzinger, J. Schieber, N. Mangold, B. Hallet, H. Newsom, K.M. Stack, J.A Berger, L. Thompson, K.L. Siebach, A. Cousin, S. Le Mouélic, M. Minitti, D.Y. Sumner, C. Fedo, C.H. House, S. Gupta, A.R. Vasavada, R. Gellert, R.C. Wiens, J. Frydenvang, O. Forni, P.Y. Meslin, V. Payre, E. Dehouck (2018). Desiccation cracks provide evidence of lake drying on Mars, Sutton Island member, Murray formation, Gale Crater, Geology, 46(6), doi:10.1130/G40005.1.
  19. BANHAM, S.G., S. Gupta, D. Rubin, J.A. Watkins, D.Y. Sumner, K.S. Edgett, J.P. Grotzinger, K.W. Lewis, L.A. Edgar, K.M. Stack-Morgan, R. Barnes, J.F. Bell III, M.D. Day, R.C. Ewing, M.G.A. Lapotre, N.T. Stein, F. Rivera-Hernandez, A. Vasavada (2018), "Ancient Martian Aeolian processes and palaeomorphology reconstructed from the Stimson formation on the lower slope of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater," Sedimentology.
  20. WILLIAMS, R.M.E., M.C. Malin,K.M. Stack, D.M. Rubin (2018), Assessment of Aeolis Palus Assessment of Aeolis Palus stratigraphic relationships based on bench-forming strata in the Kylie and the Kimberley Regions of Gale Crater, Mars, Icarus, 309, 84-104, doi:10.1016/j.icarus.2018.02.028.
  21. EDGAR, L.A., S. Gupta, D.M. Rubin, K.W. Lewis, G.A. Kocurek, R.B. Anderson, J.F. Bell III, G Dromart, KS Edgett, JP Grotzinger, C Hardgrove, LC Kah, R Leveille, MC Malin, N Mangold, R.E. Milliken, M. Minitti, M. Palucis, M. Rice, S.K. Rowland, J. Schieber, K.M. Stack, D.Y. Sumner, R.M.E. Williams (2018), Shaler: in situ analysis of a fluvial sedimentary deposit on Mars, Sedimentology, 65(1), 96-122, doi:10.1111/sed.12370.