Sarah Carmichael Department of Geology
ASU Box 32067
572 Rivers Street
Boone, NC 28608
Phone: 828-262-8471

Fluid-Rock Geochemistry and Biomineralogy

My interests involve reactive fluid flow and mineralization in sedimentary and volcanic systems in both ancient and modern environments, as well as microbially mediated reactions at the earth's surface. I primarily focus on the geochemistry of mass extinctions and the role of tectonics in shale gas development (particularly during the late Devonian), and the geomicrobiology of cave deposits. I also work on the geochemistry of the Engare Sero Footprint Site in Tanzania.

Research Groups

Geomicrobiology: Since 2009, I have worked extensively with Dr. Suzanna Bräuer in the Department of Biology, and Dr. Cara Santelli at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum on manganese oxide biominerals produced by both bacteria and fungi. We do extensive fieldwork in southern Appalachian caves as well as on a variety of regional rocks at the surface that have experienced reactive fluid flow and/or biomineralization. For more information about our geomicrobiology research group, visit

Paleoclimate: My more recent project involves work with Appalachian Geology Professor Johnny Waters and the UNESCO-funded International Geoscience Programme Project 596, which studies climate change and biodiversity in the mid Paleozoic. With collaborators from around the world, we work primarily in the Central Asian Orogenic Belt (western China and western Mongolia), in southeast Asia, and in Europe to determine the extent and scope of Devonian ocean anoxia events, the role of tectonics in shale gas development, and the rebound from the mass extinctions associated with these events. For more information about the DAGGER (Devonian Anoxia, Geochemistry, Geochronology, and Extinction Research) Group, visit

Engare Sero Footprint Site: I am also affiliated with the research team working at the Engare Sero footprint site on the shores of Lake Natron, Tanzania. This work is led by Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce, in collaboration with anthropologists from the Smithsonian and American Museum of Natural History. My role in the project is to help determine the volcanic environment and preservation mineralogy of the hominid footprints.

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