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Jim Skinner

Research geologist specializing in the evolution of planetary landscapes using remote-sensing and comparative field-based geologic mapping and associated topical research. Topics of interest include evolution of planetary basins, GIS-based geospatial landform analyses, stratigraphic architectures, sedimentary processes, and cartographic representation of geologic environments.

Current Projects

  • Mapping the Stratigraphy of the Olympia Cavi, Planum Boreum, Using High-Resolution Data. (NASA MDAP, 2013-2017; PI Skinner).
  • Geologic History of the Runanga-Jorn Basin, Mars: Efficiency of Scale in the Mapping and Representation of Layered Sequences. (NASA PG&G, 2012-2015; PI Skinner).
  • Analysis and Chronostratigraphic Implications of Secondary-to-Source Impact Feature Relationships. (NASA LASER, 2012-2015; PI Skinner).
  • The Geomorphological and Compositional Geology of Libya Montes and the Interbasin Plains of Northern Terra Tyrrhena, Mars. (NASA PG&G, 2009-2013 +NCE; PI Skinner).
  • Planetary Geologic Map Coordination. (NASA PG&G, Cartography, Ongoing; PI Skinner).

Professional Experience

  • USGS Astrogeology Science Center, Flagstaff, AZ (May, 2004 to present)
    • Research Geologist conducting and supporting individual and community scientific research of planetary surfaces through geologic mapping and map-based topical studies.
  • MACTEC, Inc., Raleigh, NC (October, 2003 to January, 2004)
    • Project Geologist coordinating Phase I and II field investigations for environmental remediation.
  • USGS Astrogeology, Flagstaff, AZ (April, 2000 to May, 2003)
    • Geological Technician assisting with planetary geologic mapping projects and map-based scientific studies.
  • Municipal Engineering Services Company, Garner, NC (July, 1997 to August, 1999)
    • Project Geologist coordinating field investigations and groundwater studies for the development of municipal landfills.
  • Western Geophysical, Houston, TX (June, 1996 to June, 1997)
    • Onboard Geophysicist coordinating multi-cable deep marine seismic surveys in the Gulf of Mexico onboard R/V Western Hercules.


  • USGS Planetary Geologic Map Coodinator (Feb., 2014 to present)
  • NASA Planetary Cartography and Geologic Mapping Working Group, Geologic Mapping Subcommittee (GEMS) - Member (June, 2009 to present), Chair (June, 2011 to present)
  • Licensed Geologist, State of North Carolina (#2051), since 2004
  • Reviews Provided
    • Journal Articles: Astrobiology, EPSL, GRL, GSA Special Issues, Icarus, JGR-Planets, USGS SIM
    • NASA Program Panels - MDAP, MFRP, MSL PS, Dawn at Ceres Operational Review
    • NASA Proposals (External) - LASER, MDAP, MFRP, MMAMA, PG&G

Scientific Publications

Peer-Reviewed Geologic Maps

  • Skinner, J.A., Jr., and Tanaka, K.L., Geologic Map of the Nepenthes Planum Region, Mars, USGS Scientific Investigations Map (SIM), in prep.
  • Tanaka, K.L., Skinner, J.A., Jr., Dohm, J.M., Irwin, R.P., III, Kolb, E.K., Fortezzo, C.M., Platz, T., Michael, G.G., and Hare, T.M., Geologic Map of Mars, USGS Scientific Investigations Map (SIM) 3292, scale 1:20,000,000, in press.
  • Skinner, J.A., Jr., and Herkenhoff, K.E., 2

Education and Certifications

  • Northern Arizona University, M.S. Geology, 2002

        •Thesis: Re-characterization of the materials of Utopia                      Pla

Honors and Awards

  • Awards

    •NASA Group Achievement Award (Desert-RATS Science Team), 2010

    •USGS Western Region Communicator of the Year, 2009

Science and Products