Rosemary Capo

Associate Professor


Rosemary Capo
401 SRCC
4107 O'Hara Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260



Dr. Capo received her B.S. and M.S. in Geology from the University of Texas and Ph.D. in Geochemistry from UCLA, with a focus on strontium isotope stratigraphy.  She has over 25 years experience in the analysis of natural and produced waters, mineral, soil, and environmental samples, including four years as a postdoctoral researcher and research scientist at the California Institute of Technology and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Dr. Capo’s research integrates field, micromorphological and petrographic analysis with geochemical and isotopic analysis to understand terrestrial processes.


  • Research
  • Publications
  • Laboratory Members
  • Teaching

Dr. Capo’s current and previous studies involve: cation cycling in soil-vegetation systems; chemical evolution of the oceans and deep basin brines, carbonate diagenesis and pedogenesis; geochemical evolution of acid mine drainage, terrestrial weathering and paleosol formation, sources of dissolved solids in groundwater, evolution of Marcellus Shale produced waters, and physicochemical effects of hydraulic fracturing fluids on shale.

Research Areas

*Hedin, B.C., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Hedin, R.S., Lopano, C.L.,  Stuckman, M.Y. (2019) The evaluation of critical rare earth element (REE) enriched treatment solids from coal mine drainage passive treatment systems. International Journal of Coal Geology 208, 54-64.

Phan§, T.T., Gardiner, J.B.*, Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., 2018, Geochemical and multi-isotopic (Li, Sr, Nd, U) perspectives of sediment sources, depositional conditions, and diagenesis of the Marcellus Shale, Appalachian Basin, USA. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 222: 187-211.

G., Anbar, A.D. (2016) Iron isotope investigation of hydrothermal and sedimentary pyrite and their aqueous dissolution products. Chemical Geology 427, 73-82.

†Phan, T.T., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Macpherson, G.L., Rowan, E.L., Hammack R.W. (2016) Factors controlling Li concentration and isotopic composition in formation waters and host rocks of Marcellus Shale, Appalachian Basin. Chemical Geology 420, 162-179.

Stewart, B.W., *Chapman, E.C., Capo, R.C., Johnson, J., Graney, J., Kirby, C.S., Schroeder, K.T. (2015) Origin of brines, salts and carbonate from shales of the Marcellus Formation: Evidence from geochemical and Sr isotope study of sequentially extracted fluids. Applied Geochemistry 60, 78-88.

Stewart, B.W., Capo, R.C., Kirby, C.S. (2015) Geochemistry of unconventional shale gas from formation to extraction: Petrogenesis, hydraulic fracturing, and environmental impacts (Preface). Applied Geochemistry 60, 1-2.

†Phan, T.T., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Graney, J.R., Johnson, J.D., Sharma, S., Toro, J. (2015) Trace metal distribution and mobility in drill cuttings and produced waters from Marcellus shale gas extraction: uranium, arsenic, barium. Applied Geochemistry 60, 89-103.

Johnson, J.D., Graney, J.R., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W. (2015) Identification and quantification of regional brine and road salt sources in watersheds along the New York/Pennsylvania border, U.S.A. Applied Geochemistry 60, 37-50.

Keating, E.H., Newell, D.L., Stewart, B.W., Capo, R.C., Pawar, R. (2014) Further insights into interconnections between the shallow and deep systems from a natural CO2 reservoir near Springerville, Arizona, U.S.A. Energy Procedia 63, 3195-3201.

Newell, D.L., Perkins, G., Larson, T., Pugh, J.D., Stewart, B.W., Capo, R.C., and Trautz, R. (2014) Tracing CO2 leakage into groundwater using carbon and strontium isotopes during a controlled CO2 release field test. International Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control 29, 200-208.

Kolesar Kohl, C.A., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Wall, A.J., Schroeder, K.T., Hammack, R.W., Guthrie, G.D. (2014) Strontium isotopes test long-term zonal isolation of injected and Marcellus Formation water after hydraulic fracturing. Environmental Science and Technology 48, 9867-9873.

Macpherson, G.L., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Phan, T.T., Schroeder, K.T., Hammack, R.W. (2014) Temperature-dependent Li isotope ratios in Appalachian Plateau and Gulf Coast Sedimentary Basin saline water. Geofluids 14, 419-429.

Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Rowan, E.L., Kolesar, C.A., Wall, A.J., Chapman, E.C., Hammack, R.W., Schroeder, K.T. (2014) The strontium isotopic evolution of Marcellus Formation produced waters, southwestern Pennsylvania. International Journal of Coal Geology 126, 57-63

Soeder, D.J., Sharma, S., Pekney, N., Hopkinson, L., Dilmore, R., Kutchko, B.G., Stewart, B.W., Carter, C., Hakala, J.A., Capo, R.C. (2014) An approach for assessing engineering risk from shale gas wells in the United States. International Journal of Coal Geology 126, 4-19.

Wall, A.J., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Phan, T.T., Jain, J.C., Hakala, J.A., Guthrie, G.D. (2013) High throughput method for Sr extraction from variable matrix waters and 87Sr/86Sr isotope analysis by MC-ICP-MS. Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry 28, 1338-1344.

Hammack, R., Zorn, E., Harbert, W., Capo, R.C., Sharma, S., Siriwardame, S. (2013) An evaluation of zonal isolation after hydraulic fracturing; results from horizontal Marcellus shale gas wells at NETL’s Greene County Test Site in southwestern Pennsylvania. Society of Petroleum Engineers SPE 16-5720, 8 p.

Brubaker, T.M., Stewart, B.W., Capo, R.C., Schroeder, K.T., Chapman, E.C., Spivak-Birndorf, L.J., Vesper, D.J., Cardone, C.R., Rohar, P.C. (2013) Coal fly ash interaction with environmental fluids: Geochemical and strontium isotope results from combined column and batch leaching experiments. Applied Geochemistry 32, 184-194.

Chapman, E.C., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Hedin, R.S., Weaver, T.J., Edenborn, H.M. (2013) Strontium isotope quantification of siderite, brine, and acid mine drainage contributions to abandoned gas well discharges in the Appalachian Plateau. Applied Geochemistry 31, 109-118.

Chapman, E.C., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Kirby, C.S., Hammack, R.W., Schroeder, K.T., Edenborn, H.M. (2012) Geochemical and strontium isotope characterization of produced waters from Marcellus Shale natural gas extraction. Environmental Science and Technology 46, 3545-3553.

Spivak-Birndorf, L.J., Stewart, B.W., Capo,  R.C., Chapman, E.C., Schroeder, K.T., Brubaker, T.M. (2012) Strontium isotope study of coal utilization byproducts interacting with environmental waters. Journal of Environmental Quality 41, 144-154.

Sharma, S., Sack, A., Adams, J., Vesper, D., Capo, R.C., Edenborn, H. (2012) Using stable isotopes to understand carbon cycling in a coal mine drainage site in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania USA. Applied Geochemistry 29, 32-42.

Keating, E., Viswanathan, H., Fessenden, J., Carey, J., Guthrie, G., Hakala, J., Capo, R., Stewart, B., and Gardiner, J. (2011) The challenge of predicting groundwater quality impacts in CO2 leakage scenarios: Results from field, laboratory, and modeling studies at a natural analog site in New Mexico, USA. Energy Procedia 4, 3239-3245.




  • Irene Wallrich
  • Matthew Dieterich
  • Samantha Pfister
  • Courtney Kolesar Kohl
  • James Gardiner
  • Elizabeth C. Chapman
  • Sherry L. Stafford
  • Lara Homsey
  • Candace L. Kairies
  • Elizabeth Bryant
  • Amanda C. Reynolds
  • William Winters
  • Charles E. Whipkey
  • Theodore J. Weaver
  • Gregory Ayres

Classes taught include:

GEOL 0800 Geology     

Offered every Fall and Spring Term.  Lecture, 1 hours; recitation, 1 hour


GEOL 1001 Mineralogy

Offered every Fall Term.  Lecture, 1 hour, Lab 3 hours


GEOL 3908, 3953  Topics in Geology, Topics in Geochemistry

Courses focused on a range of topics of interest to students and the research community.  Recent topics include shale gas exploration, the application of metal stable isotopes, geochemical tracers for weathering, and the evolution of Earth’s earliest atmosphere.  Combination of lectures, readings, and student-led discussions.

Offered Fall or Spring Term, Lecture, 3 hours