Sara Mana

Professional Details

Title Associate Professor
Department Geological Sciences
Office Meier Hall 331B
Phone 978.542.2377
Photo of Sara Mana

Recent and Upcoming Courses

FYGS 100 First Year Seminar (geological Sciences)
GLS 100 Dynamic Earth
GLS 108 Geology in the Movies
GLS 235 Forensic Geology
GLS 328 Special Topics in Geology
GLS 341 Structural Geology
GLS 342 Tectonics
GLS 470 Field Geology I
GLS 500 Senior Research in Geology I
GLS 501 Senior Research in Geology II
GPH 876 Thesis

Professional Biography

I am a broad-spectrum field geologist with particular interest in quantitative analysis and their applications in active tectonics. I use radiogenic isotopes and incompatible trace element geochemistry to infer the source and depth of melting in rifting environments with the ultimate goal of better understanding the role of magmatism in the early stages of rifting. I use high-precision 40Ar/39Ar step-heating geochronology to address a variety of problems (e.g. magma evolution, basin development, rate of deposition, human evolution). I employ gas geochemistry and remote sensing to understand local and regional-scale deformation processes at tectonic-magmatic systems.

Professional Interests

Student employment opportunity now available - contact me if interested!

National Science Foundation award to Salem State University (PI-Dr. Mana) - $ 80,157 - May 01, 2018 to April 30, 2021 (Collaborative Research with PI-Dr. Erin DiMaggio at Penn State University which was awarded another $135,201 as part of this project). East African Rift Tephra Database [EARThD]: a compilation documenting and analyzing explosive volcanism in East Africa.

A supplement of $25,712 was received to extend this project throughout April 2023.


Fall 2022 and Spring 2023 Office hours: I will be on sabbatical. please schedule an appointment by emailing me at

Selected Publications

A. Boutier, A. Vitale Brovarone, I. Martinez, S. Mana, 2021. High-pressure serpentinization and abiotic methane formation in metaperidotite from the Appalachian subduction, northern Vermont. Lithos, doi: 10.1016/j.lithos.2021.106190.

I. Nengo, P. Tafforeau, C.C. Gilbert, J.G. Fleagle, E.R. Miller, C. Feibel, D.L. Fox, J. Feinberg, K.D. Pugh, C. Berruyer, S. Mana, 2020. Author Correction: New infant cranium from the African Miocene sheds light on ape evolution. Nature, 583(7815), pp.E21-E21. doi:10.1038/nature23456.

S. Mana, S. Hemming, D.V. Kent, C.J. Lepre, 2019. Temporal and stratigraphic correlations for paleoanthropology sites within East-Central Area 130, Koobi Fora, Kenya. Frontiers in Earth Science, 7, p.230. doi: 10.3389/feart.2019.00230.

H. L. Lobeck, H. Traustason, P.A. Julien, J.R. FitzPatrick, S. Mana, J.E.S. Szymanowski, P.C. Burns, 2019. In Situ Raman Spectroscopy of Uranyl Peroxide Nanoscale Cage Clusters Under Hydrothermal Conditions. Dalton Transactions. doi: 10.1039/c9dt01529a

P. Ruiz, M.J. Carr, G.E. Alvarado, G.J. Soto, S. Mana, M.D. Feigenson, L.F. Sáenz, 2019. Coseismic landslide susceptibility analysis using LiDAR data PGA attenuation and GIS: The case of Poás volcano, Costa Rica, Central America. In Poás Volcano (pp. 79-118). Springer, Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-02156-0_4.

P. Ruiz, S. Mana, E. Gazel, G.E. Alvarado, G.J. Soto, M.J. Carr, 2019. Geochemical and geochronological characterisation of the Poas stratovolcano stratigraphy. In Poás Volcano (pp. 13-43). Springer, Cham. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-02156-0_2.

C. Liutkus-Pierce, K. Takashita-Bynum, L. Beane, C. Edwards, O. Burns, S. Mana, S. Hemming, A. Grossman,  J. Wright, F. Kirera, 2019. Reconstruction of the Early Miocene Critical Zone at Loperot, Southwestern Turkana, Kenya. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 7, p.44. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00044

P. Ruiz, S. Mana, A. Gutiérrez, G. Alarcón, J. Garro, G.J. Soto, 2018. Use of volcanic materials in Pre-Hispanic cultures and human-volcano interactions through the Holocene in Costa Rica. Frontiers in Earth Science 6, 13. doi: 10.3389/feart.2018.00013

I. Nengo, P. Tafforeau, C.C. Gilbert, J.G. Fleagle, E.R. Miller, C. Feibel, D. Fox, J. Feinberg, K.D. Pugh, C. Berruyer, S. Mana, Z. Engle, F. Spoor, 2017. New infant cranium from the African Miocene sheds light on ape evolution. Nature 548 (7666), 169-174. doi:10.1038/nature23456

J.D. Muirhead, S.A. Kattenhorn, H. Lee, S. Mana, B.D. Turrin, T.P. Fischer, G. Kianji, E. Dindi, S. Stamps, 2016. Evolution of upper crustal faulting assisted by magmatic volatile release during early- stage continental rifting in the East African Rift. Geosphere, GES01375-1, doi: 10.1130/GES01375.1.

C.M. Liutkus, B.W. Zimmer, S.K. Carmichael, W. McIntosh, A. Deino, S.M. Hewitt, K.J. McGinnis, T.  Hartney, J. Brett, S. Mana, D. Deocampo, B.G. Richmond, K. Hatala, W. Harcourt-Smith, B. Pobiner, A. Metallo, V. Rossi, 2016. Age, formation, and preservation of Late Pleistocene human footprints at Engare Sero, Tanzania. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 463, 68-82,

S. Mana, P. Ruiz, A. Gutiérrez, 2015. Critical Zone in Tropical Environments. In: “Principles and Dynamics of the Critical Zone”. Elsevier, Earth Science Series, Vol. 19, Chap. 15, 471-494.

S. Mana, T. Furman, B.D. Turrin, M.D. Feigenson, C.C. Swisher III, 2015. Magmatic Activity across the East African North Tanzanian Divergence Zone. J. Geol. Soc. 172, 368-389, doi: 10.1144/jgs2014-072.