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Sarah Rose Black, PhD

Sarah R. Black is a planetary scientist at the USGS Astrogeology Science Center. Sarah earned a bachelor's degree in Geology from the State University of New York (SUNY) Buffalo in 2004, a master's degree in Geology from SUNY Buffalo in 2006, and a Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2018. She is now a member of the ASC Planetary Geologic Mapping group.

Prior to joining the USGS in 2020, I was an Associate Research Scientist with the Planetary Science Institute (2020), and a Solutions Engineer at Esri and Harris Geospatial Solutions (2018 - 2020).  I also spent five years as a Geoscience Department faculty member at Skidmore College (2008 – 2013), before earning my Ph.D. at CU Boulder. Through these experiences, I have developed a passion for education, outreach, and GIS in the planetary science community.


  • Ph.D. 2018, University of Colorado Boulder; Geological Sciences
  • M.S. 2006, SUNY Buffalo; Geology
  • B.A. 2004, SUNY Buffalo; Geology

Research Interests

  • Geologic mapping
  • Physical volcanology
  • Terrestrial analogs

Honors and Awards

  • 2021 USGS STAR Award: Production of interactive map of Jezero crater and Nili Planum, Mars
  • 2020 Tanaka-Greeley Fellowship, USGS Astrogeology Science Center
  • 2016 Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology
  • 2016 Geological Society of America Graduate Research Grant
  • 2015 University of Colorado Boulder Geology Department Graduate Research Shell Grant


Computer programs

  • Esri ArcGIS suite
  • ENVI
  • SARscape
  • Canopy (Python scripting environment)
  • Geochemist’s Workbench (Geochemical modeling)
  • Visual MINTEQ (Geochemical modeling)
  • X-Powder (X-Ray diffraction data processing)
  • LabSpec6 (Raman data processing)
  • KnowItAll (Raman data processing)

Programming languages

  • Python


  • TerraSpec 4 High Resolution, and TerraSpec Halo Gun Portable Visible Near Infrared (VNIR) Spectrometers
  • Horiba LabRAM HR Evolution Raman Microscope-Spectrometer
  • Terra Portable X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) Analyzer
  • JEOL JXA-8230 Superprobe (Electron microprobe)

Lab Data

  • VNIR
  • XRD
  • Raman
  • Electron Microprobe


  • Conversational Spanish