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Two UW Professors Publish Textbook on Basic Principles of Igneous and Metamorphic Rocks

November 5, 2013
Cover of “Essentials for Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology,”
Ron and Carol Frost, professors in UW’s Department of Geology and Geophysics, have published a college textbook titled “Essentials of Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology.”

Two University of Wyoming faculty members wrote a college-level geology textbook that was published by Cambridge University Press.

Ron Frost and Carol Frost (unrelated), both professors in UW’s Department of Geology and Geophysics, wrote “Essentials for Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology,” an introductory textbook designed specifically for one-semester undergraduate courses. Petrology is a branch of geology that studies the composition, distribution, origin and structure of rocks.

Described as ideal for programs where petrology and mineralogy courses are separate, the publication provides the essential information to understand the origins, environments and basic processes that produce igneous and metamorphic rocks.

“The book fills a real void because it is aimed at all undergraduate geology majors, and is written for a one-semester igneous and metamorphic petrology class,” says Carol Frost.

In the textbook, the authors engage students by applying petrology to real geologic environments. The textbook’s content is organized around the types of rocks to expect in a given tectonic environment rather than around rock classifications.

Application boxes throughout the text encourage students to consider how petrology connects to wider aspects of geology, including economic geology, geologic hazards and geophysics. Exercises at the end of each chapter allow students to apply concepts they have learned and practice interpreting petrologic data.

The 336-page paperback contains more than 250 illustrations and photos, and is supplemented by additional color photomicrographs available online for free. Priced at $65, the book became available this month at Cambridge University Press

“At the annual Geological Society of America meeting in Denver (Oct. 27–30), Cambridge got several dozen requests for examination copies, and many professors told us they were adopting the book for use this coming spring,” says Carol Frost.

The textbook already has garnered some good reviews from the academic community.

Joshua Swartz, an assistant professor of geology at California State University Northridge and UW alumnus, described the book as “an authoritative and contemporary textbook ideal for today’s undergraduate student … that distills the essence of igneous and metamorphic petrology.”

“Frost and Frost do a good job of linking igneous and metamorphic petrology to basic chemistry and major tectonic processes,” says Aley K. El-Shazly, an associate professor of geology at Marshall University. “(It is) well illustrated with a decent set of problem sets and a nice summary of mineral properties.”

For more information, email

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