ETEC Online: Dr. Linda Kah, University of Tennessee (NASA Mars Project)

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ETEC Online: Dr. Linda Kah, University of Tennessee (NASA Mars Project)

September 18, 2020 @ 7:30 am - 8:30 am

On Friday, September 18th. Dr. Kah will join us to speak on the search for habitability. How do we determine the habitability of extraterrestrial environments? Although at its face, this is a rather innocuous question, the answer is incredibly complex and filled with scientific uncertainty. In this presentation, we will explore the basic requirements for life and we will take a look at how habitability (and life) are recorded in the geologic environments of the early Earth. We will then extend our understanding of extraterrestrial habitable environments, with a particular focus on Mars.

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Dr. Linda C. Kah
Kenneth R. Walker Professor
Carbonate Sedimentology and Geochemistry Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of Tennessee

Research Synopsis:

My students and I focus on integrating sedimentology, stratigraphy, geochemistry, and microbial ecology in understanding the evolution of the Earth’s biosphere. My primary research projects include reconstructing the ocean-atmospheric oxygenation and the redox structure of Mesoproterozoic shallow marine systems, exploring the effects of changing ocean circulation on the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE), characterizing microbe-mineral interactions in the mineralization of Holocene lacustrine microbialites, and investigating the process of early diagenetic silicification in Proterozoic microbial systems. After more than 20 years as an Earth- based field geologist, I have also begun investigating potential habitable environments in extraterrestrial systems as co-investigator on the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover mission, and am continuing my extraterrestrial work as a co-investigator on the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission.

Education and Employment:

BS (1990) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (advisor Roger G. Burns)

MS (1990) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (advisor John P. Grotzinger) PhD (1997) Harvard University (advisor Andrew H. Knoll)

Postdoctoral Fellow (1998-1999) University of Missouri (mentor Timothy W. Lyons)

Assistant Professor (2000-2006) University of Tennessee Associate Professor (2006-2012) University of Tennessee Professor (2012-present) University of Tennessee


Departmental Web Page: ResearchGate Profile:

Google Scholar Profile:


September 18, 2020
7:30 am - 8:30 am
Event Category:




ONLINE via Zoom
TN United States + Google Map