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Department of Geology and Geophysics|People

Carol Frost

Carol Frost


Isotope Geology
Office Phone: (307)766-6254
Fax Phone: (307)766-6679

P.O. Box 3006
Laramie, Wyoming 82071
Office: ESB 3044


Link to C/V (pdf)

Dr. Frost is on leave from UW during 2015 and is serving as Division Director, National Science Foundation Division of Earth Sciences


Earth Sciences, PhD, Cambridge University, 1984
Earth Sciences, AB, Dartmouth College, 1979

Carol Frost joined the University of Wyoming faculty in 1983 as an assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, where she established the radiogenic isotope geology laboratory. Her research interests include the origin and evolution of the continental crust, the classification and petrogenesis of granites and related rocks, and the application of environmental isotopes to problems related to energy and environment. Although her geological research spans the globe from Norway to New Zealand, many of the critical observations that catalyzed new ideas and interpretations have come from the spectacular exposures in Wyoming of some of the world’s oldest and best-preserved ancient crust.

Professor Frost teaches a wide array of undergraduate and graduate courses, including physical geology, geochemistry, mineralogy, petrology, isotope geology, and Earth system science.

Dr. Frost has served UW in a variety of administrative positions including founding Director of the School of Energy Resources, Associate Vice President of Research, and Vice President for Special Projects. In these roles she undertook varied initiatives, including the formation of an institutional research program in carbon sequestration, development and implementation of a strategic plan to raise the quality of graduate education, coordination of a faculty task force establishing an interdisciplinary program in biodiversity conservation, and a successful program to raise undergraduate assured admission standards at UW. More information about her administrative record is available via the administrative positions link on the left sidebar.

Carol and her husband, Eric Nye, are the parents of a grown son and daughter who refer to their mother as “a bit of a jock.” She tries to live up to this description by doing as much skiing, running, hiking, and climbing as possible.

Professional Awards

2008                        George Duke Humphrey Award (UW’s highest faculty award)

2001                        Wyoming Professor of the Year

2000                        University of Wyoming Presidential Speaker

1998                        Fellow, Mineralogical Society of America

Selected Professional Service

2011-2014           Wyoming State Geological Survey Advisory Board

2009-2013           Science Editor, Geosphere

2011-2013           President, Phi Beta Kappa Alpha of Wyoming

2007-2010           Councilor, Mineralogical Society of America

2005-2009           Board of Professional Geologists, State of Wyoming

1993-2011           Service on 5 NSF and Canadian NSERC panels

1991-2012           Service on 3 editorial boards and guest editor of 5 themed issues

Research Projects

Mineralogy and provenance of Wyoming uranium roll-front deposits and their significance to in-situ recovery mining processes with S. Swapp, R. Frost, R. Gregory, and J.McLaughlin, funded by SER Uranium Research Program, 7/1/11-6/30/14.


Frost, B.R., and Frost, C.D., 2014, Essentials of Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, Cambridge University Press, published in November 2013, ISBN 978-1-107-02754-1.

Selected Recent Publications

(from a total of more than 125 papers and books)

Duke, G.I., Carlson, R.W., Frost, C.D., Hearn, B.C., Eby, G.N., 2014, Continent-scale linearity of kimberlite-carbonatite magmatism, mid-continent North America. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 403, 1-14.

Quillinan, S., Frost, C.D., 2014, Carbon isotope characterization of Powder River Basin Coal Bed Waters: Key to minimizing unnecessary water production and implications for exploration and timing of biogenic gas. International Journal of Coal Geology, in press.

McLaughlin, J.F., Bagdonas, D., Frost, C.D., Frost, B.R., 2013, Geologic Map of the Stampede Meadows quadrangle, Fremont County, Wyoming. Wyoming State Geological Survey Bedrock Geologic Map, 1:24,000 scale.

McArthur, K.L., Frost, C.D., Barnes, C.G., Prestvik, T., Nordgulen, Ø., 2013, Tectonic reconstruction and sediment provenance of a far-traveled oceanic nappe, Helgeland Nappe Complex, west-central Norway. Journal of the Geological Society of London, doi 10.1144/SP390.3 [PDF]

Marko, W.T., Barnes, C.G., Yoshinobu, A.S., Frost, C.D., Nordgulen, Ø., 2013, Geology, geochemistry, and emplacement conditions of the Vega instrusive complex: an example of large-scale crustal anatexis in north-central Norway. Journal of the Geological Society of London, doi 10.1144/SP390.x.

Mailloux, J., Ogle, K., Frost, C.D., 2013, Using a Bayesian statistical model to determine the amount of coal bed natural gas coproduced water in the Powder River, Wyoming and Montana. Hydrologic Processes, doi: 10.1002/hyp9784. [PDF]

Frost, C.D., and Frost, B.R., 2013, Proterozoic Intraplate Ferroan Magmatism. Precambrian Research, v. 228. p. 151-163. [PDF]

Dall’Agnol, R., Frost, C.D., and Ramo, T., 2012, IGCP Project 510 “A-type granites and related rocks through time”: project vita, results and contribution to granite research. Lithos, v. 151, p.1-16. [PDF]

Quillinan, S.A., McLaughlin, J.F., Frost, C.D., 2012, Geochemical and stable isotopic analysis of the Tongue River and associated tributaries in the Powder River Basin: an analysis of the cause of annual elevated salinity in spring runoff. Wyoming State Geological Survey Report of Investigation No. 63, 15 pages. [PDF]

Barnes, C.G., Frost, C.D., Nordgulen, O., Prestvik T., 2012, Magma hybridization in the middle crust, possible consequences for MASH magmatism. Geosphere, v. 8, 518-533. [PDF]

McLaughlin, J.F., Frost, C.D., Sharma, S., 2011, Isotopic analysis of Atlantic Rim waters, Carbon County, Wyoming: a new tool for characterizing coalbed natural gas systems. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, v. 95, p. 191-217. [PDF]

Frost, C.D., and Mailloux, J.M., 2011, Establishing appropriate water quality numeric standards under the Clean Water Act: lessons from a case study of coalbed methane produced water discharge to the Powder River, Wyoming and Montana. Wyoming Law Review, v. 11, no. 1, 1-23. [PDF]

Frost, C.D., and Frost, B.R., 2011, On ferroan (A-type) granites: their compositional variability and modes of origin. Journal of Petrology 52, 39-53. [PDF]

Frost, C.D. and Jakle, A.C., 2010, Geologic carbon sequestration in Wyoming: prospects and progress. Rocky Mountain Geology, v. 45, p. 83-91. [PDF]

Lynds, R., Campbell-Stone, E., Becker, T.P., Frost, C. 2010, Stratigraphic evaluation of reservoir and seal in a natural CO2 field: Lower Paleozoic, Moxa Arch, southwest Wyoming. Rocky Mountain Geology, v. 45, p. 113-132. [PDF]

Smith, M.S., Sharma, S., Wyckoff, T.B., and Frost, C.D., 2010, Baseline Geochemical Characterization of Potential Receiving Reservoirs for Carbon Dioxide in the Greater Green River Basin, Wyoming. Rocky Mountain Geology, v. 45, p. 93-111. [PDF]

Stewart, E.D., Link, P.K., Fanning, C.M., Frost, C.D., McCurry, M., 2010, Non-North American sediment in the Mesoproterozoic upper Belt Supergroup and Lemhi Group: new constraints on a proto-Rodinia. Geology, v, 38, 927-930. [PDF]

Frost, C.D., Brinck, E.L., Mailloux, J., Sharma, S., Campbell, C.E., Carter, S.A., Pearson, B.N., 2010, Innovative approaches for tracing water co-produced with coalbed natural gas: applications of strontium and carbon isotopes of produced water in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming and Montana (invited). In K.J. Reddy (ed.) Coalbed Methane: Energy and Environment, Nova Science Publishers, New York (in press). [PDF]

Frost, C.D., Frost, B.R., Lindsley, D.H., Chamberlain, K.R., Swapp, S.M., Scoates, J.S., 2010, Geochemical and isotopic evolution of the anorthositic plutons of the Laramie anorthosite complex: explanations for variations in silica activity and oxygen fugacity of massif anorthosites. Canadian Mineralogist, v. 48, 925-946. [PDF]

Lindsley, D.H., Frost, B.R., Frost, C.D., Scoates, J.S., 2010, Petrology, geochemistry, and structure of the Chugwater anorthosite, Laramie Anorthosite complex, S.E. Wyoming, U.S.A. Canadian Mineralogist, v. 48, 887-923. [PDF]

Schwartz, J.J., Snoke, A.W., Frost, C.D., Barnes, C.G., Gromet, L.P., Johnson, K., 2010, Structural and isotopic characteristics of the Wallowa-Baker terrane boundary: evidence for a lithospheric terrane boundary in the Blue Mountains Province, northeast Oregon. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 122, 517-536, doi:10.1130/B26493.1. [PDF]

Brinck, E.L., Frost, C.D., 2009, Evaluation of amendments used to prevent sodification of irrigated fields. Applied Geochemistry, v. 24, p. 2113-2122, doi:10.1016/j.apgeochem.2009.09.001. [PDF]

Fenner, J.N., and Frost, C.D. 2009, Modern Wyoming plant and pronghorn isoscapes and their implications for archaeology. Journal of Geochemical Exploration, v. 102, p 149-156. Doi:10.1016/j.gexplo.2008.09.003. [PDF]

Barnes, C.G., Prestvik, T., Li, Y., McCulloch, L., Yoshinobu, A.S., Frost, C.D., 2009, Growth and zoning of the Hortavær intrusive complex, a layered alkaline pluton in the Norwegian Caledonides. Geosphere v.5, p 286-301; doi: 10.1130/GES00210.1. [PDF]

Frost, B.R., and Frost, C.D., 2008, A geochemical classification for feldspathic rocks. Journal of Petrology, v. 49 no. 11, 1955-1969. Doi:10.1093/petrology/egn054. [PDF]

Campbell, C.E., Pearson, B.N., and Frost, C.D. 2008, Strontium isotopes as indicators of aquifer communication in an area of coal bed natural gas production, Powder River Basin, Wyoming and Montana. Rocky Mountain Geology, v. 43, no. 2, 149-175. [PDF]

Brinck, E.L., Drever, J.I., and Frost, C.D., 2008, The geochemical evolution of water co-produced with coal bed natural gas in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming. Environmental Geosciences v. 15, no. 4, p. 153-171. Doi:10.1306/eg.01290807017. [PDF]

Sharma, S., and Frost, C.D., 2008, Tracing coal bed natural gas co-produced water using stable isotopes of carbon. Ground Water, v. 46, 329-334. [PDF]

Frost, B.R., and Frost, C.D., 2008, On Charnockites. Gondwana Research 12, 30-44. doi:10.1016/ [PDF]

Barnes, C.G., Frost, C.D., McArthur, K., Barnes, M.A., Allen, C.M., Nordgulen, Ø., Prestvik, T., and Yoshinobu, A.S., 2007, Timing of sedimentation, metamorphism, and plutonism in the Helgeland Nappe Complex, north-central Norwegian Caledonides. Geosphere v.3: 683-703doi:10.1130/GES00138.1. [PDF]

Frost, C.D., von Blanckenburg, F., Schoenberg, R., Frost, B.R., and Swapp, S.M. 2007. Preservation of Fe isotope heterogeneities during diagenesis and metamorphism of banded iron formation. Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology, v. 153: 211-235, doi 10.1007/s00410-006-0141-0. [PDF]

Brinck, E.L., and Frost, C.D. 2007. Detecting infiltration and impacts of introduced water using strontium isotopes. Ground Water, v. 45: 554-569, doi:10.1111/j.1745-6584.2007.00345.x. [PDF]

Frost, C.D., Barnes, C.G., and Snoke, A.W., 2006, Nd and Sr isotopic data from argillaceous rocks of the Galice Formation and Rattlesnake Creek terrane, Klamath Mountains: evidence for the input of Precambrian sources.  In A.W. Snoke and C.G. Barnes, eds., Geological studies in the Klamath Mountains province, California and Oregon, Geological Society of America Special Paper 410, 103-120. [PDF]

Frost, C.D., Frost, B.R., Kirkwood, R., Chamberlain, K.R., 2006.  The tonalite-trondhjemite-granodiorite (TTG) to granodiorite-granite (GG) transition in the Late Archean plutonic rocks of the central Wyoming province. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, v. 43, 1419-1444. [PDF]

Graduate Students

Davin Bagdonas - MS Candidate

Jonathan "Fred" McLaughlin - PhD Candidate

Research Statement

My research involves applying geochemical and isotopic techniques to understand the origin and evolution of the continental crust. A variety of problems fall under the broad topic of crustal evolution; hence I work on rocks of different ages, from Archean to Recent, and on different types of geologic materials, including igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks, as well as natural waters and organic materials such as coal and crude oils.

An enduring research interest is the evolution of Precambrian continental crust, with particular focus on the Wyoming province. My current funded research in this area is in the Teton Range, where together with Susan Swapp and Ron Frost I am investigating what appears to be the oldest high-pressure metamorphism in North America. We interpret these rocks to record an ancient continent-continent collision.

Another long-standing interest is in tracing sediment recycling and provenance with Nd isotopes. Currently I am studying the accreted terranes of the Blue Mountains of Oregon with Art Snoke and PhD student Jason Mailloux, and sediment transport in a modern arid river system, also with Jason Mailloux.

More recently I have developed an interest in the application of radiogenic isotopic tracers to problems related to energy and the environment. Our recent results suggest that different groundwater aquifers in Wyoming have distinctive Sr isotopic compositions, enabling Sr isotope ratios to be used to identify contamination and mixing between aquifers. We've also shown that groundwaters from coal and sandstone aquifers in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming have distinct Sr and C isotopic compositions. This allows us to monitor changes in groundwater hydrology that result from dewatering during coal bed methane production or from surface mining activity and to trace these waters following discharge at the surface.

Finally, I have served as PI on several multi-investigators projects that prepare for a geological carbon sequestration demonstration in Wyoming. This research includes site characterization of the highest priority geologic formations for CO2 storage in southwestern Wyoming and evaluation of depleted compartmentalized gas fields in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming. The projects include geologic, geophysical, experimental and modeling components necessary to provide information necessary for successful injection and storage of carbon dioxide in deep saline aquifer and depleted oil and gas fields.

Teaching Statement

I was selected to receive the George Duke Humphrey Award, the University of Wyoming’s top faculty award for excellence in teaching, research and service, in 2008. In 2007 the student body of the College of Arts and Sciences elected me a "Top Ten Teacher." I was named the 2001 Wyoming Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Council for Advancement and Support of Education. In 2000 I was selected for UW's highest teaching award, the Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, and in 1998-1999 I was recognized for Extraordinary Merit in Teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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