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Kelsey Crane:Assistant Professor, Geology

Kelsey Crane

Assistant Professor, Planetary Structural Geology and Tectonics

214 Hilbun Hall
Mississippi State, MS 39762

Dr. Kelsey Crane is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Mississippi State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Geology in 2019 at the University of Georgia. Dr. Crane likes using creative approaches to understand the geologic history of other planets. She conducts fieldwork in locations on Earth, like the Columbia River Basalt Province and Yakima Fold Province, that share important physical and rheological characteristics with regions of other terrestrial bodies like Mercury and Mars. Dr. Crane studies the geologic structures, faults and folds, in these locations and uses these structures to develop models for deformation on other planets. She enjoys sharing these field experiences with students and with her wonderful son, Max. Dr. Crane advocates for student-parents, recognizes that all students have challenges, and believes that diversity makes science better.

Personal Website:
Preferred Pronouns: She/her/hers


  • Ph.D. Geology, University of Georgia.
  • M.S. Geology and Geoscience Education, Purdue University.
  • B.S. Geology and Mathematics, University of Tennessee


  • Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences, Mississippi State University, 2019 – present
  • Teaching Assistant/Instructor, Department of Geology, University of Georgia, 2015 – 2019

Research Interests

  • What do faults and folds tell us about the geologic histories of other planets?
  • How can studying physical characteristics of faults and folds tell us about how deformation accumulates?
  • What are tectonic processes like in the early solar system and how do they change?
  • How do surface observations of folds and faults indicate activity at depth?
  • How should we be mapping other planets?
  • Why does structural map quality matter?

Teaching Areas

  • Structural Geology
  • Planetary Geology

Honors/Professional Activities

  • Active member of and volunteer within the Planetary Geology Division of Geological Society of America
  • Chair Technical Sessions at Geological Society of America Annual Meeting
  • co-taught Geological Society of America short course Planetary Mapping for Students

Graduate Students

  • Allison Bohanon, MS, Thesis: Structural and Biological Analysis of Basalt Fractures in Steens Mountain, Oregon as an Earth Analogue for Mars, Focus: Planetary Geology, Structural Geology
  • Kevin Branigan, MS, Thesis: Tectonic controls on glacial valley formation, Steens’ Mountain, Oregon, Focus: Structural Geology, Geomorphology

Recent Publications

  • Crane, K.T. (2020) Approach and application of industry software to structural investigations in the subsurface of Mercury’s thrust fault-related landforms.  Journal of Structural Geology 141, 104218. 
  • Crane, K.T. (2020) Structural interpretation of thrust fault-related landforms on Mercury using Earth analogue fault models.  Geomorphology 369, 107366,
  • Crane, K.T. and Klimczak, C. (2019) A 3-D structural model of the Saddle Mountains, Yakima Fold Province, Washington, USA: Implications for Late Tertiary tectonic evolution of the Columbia River Flood Basalt Province. Tectonophysics 766, 1-13.
  • Crane, K.T. and Klimczak, C. (2019). Tectonic patterns of shortening landforms in Mercury’s northern smooth plains. Icarus 317(1), 66-80.
  • Klimczak, C., Crane, K.T., Habermann, M.A., and Byrne, P.K. (2018). The spatial distribution of Mercury’s pyroclastic activity and relation to the lithospheric weaknesses. Icarus 315(15), 115-123.
  • Crane, K.T. and Klimczak, C. (2017). Timing and rate of global contraction on Mercury. Geophysical Research Letters 44(7), 3082-3089.

Kelsey Crane's C.V.

A copy of Kelsey Crane's C.V. is available to download.

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