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

Google scholar:


Selected publications: (Supervised/co-supervised by Capo: §post-doc, *graduate student, or †undergraduate student):


Stewart, B.W. and Capo, R.C. (2022) Chapter 10: Metal isotope signatures as tracers for unconventional oil and gas fluids. In Environmental Impacts from the Development of Unconventional Oil and Gas Reserves (eds. J. Stolz, D. Bain, M. Griffin), Cambridge University Press, pp. 246-271; doi:10.1017/9781108774178.013.

Matecha, R.M.*, Xiong, W., Heck, W.F. †, Stewart, B.W., Capo, R.C., Hakala, J.A. (2022) Experimental investigation of barium sources and fluid-rock interaction in unconventional Marcellus Shale wells using Ba isotopes. Energy & Fuels 36, 4470-4478.

Gardiner*, J.B., Stewart, B.W., Capo, R. C., Phan, § T.T., Hakala, J.A. and Keating E.H. (2021) Tracking natural CO2 migration through a sandstone aquifer using Sr, U and C isotopes: Chimayó, New Mexico. J. of Greenhouse Gas Control 104:

Hedin, B.C.*, Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Hedin, R.S. (2020) Critical metal recovery potential of Appalachian acid mine drainage treatment solids. International Journal of Coal Geology 10.1016/j.coal.2020.103610

Wallrich, I.L.R.*, Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Hedin, B.C.*, Phan, T.T. § (2020) Neodymium isotopes track rare earth element sources in coal mine drainage. Geochimica et Cosmochim. Acta 269: 465-483.

Pfister*, S., Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., Macpherson, G.L., Phan, T.T§., Gardiner*, J.B., Diehl, J.R., Lopano, C.L., Hakala, J.A., 2017, Geochemical and lithium isotope tracking of dissolved solid sources in Permian Basin carbonate reservoir and overlying aquifer waters, northwest Texas, USA. Applied Geochemistry 87: 122-135.

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

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. Int. Journal of Greenhouse Gas Control v. 29, 200-208.

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

Homsey*, L. K., and Capo, R.C., 2006, Integrating geochemistry and micromorphology to identify feature function at Dust Cave, a Paleoindian through Middle Archaic site in Northwest Alabama, Geoarchaeology, v. 21, 261-293.

Kairies*, C.L., Capo, R.C., Watzlaf, G. R., 2005, Chemical and physical properties of iron hydroxide precipitates associated with passively treated coal mine drainage in the bituminous region of Pennsylvania and Maryland, Applied Geochemistry, v. 20, 1445-1460.

Winters*, W.R. and Capo, R.C., 2004, Groundwater flow parameterization of an Appalachian coal mine complex, Ground Water, v. 42, 700-710.

Stewart, B.W., Capo, R.C., and Chadwick, O.A., 2001, Effects of rainfall on weathering rate and base cation provenance in volcanic soils, Kohala Peninsula, Hawaii, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, v. 65, 1087-1099.

Capo, R.C., Whipkey*, C.E., Chadwick, O.A., and Blachère, J., 2000, Pedogenic origin of dolomite in a basaltic weathering profile, Kohala Peninsula, Hawaii, Geology, 28, 271-274.

Whipkey*, C. E., Capo, R.C., Chadwick. O.A., and Stewart, B.W., 2000, The importance of sea spray to the cation budget of a coastal Hawaiian soil: a strontium isotope approach, Chemical Geology, v. 168, p. 37-48.

Capo, R.C. and Chadwick, O.A., 1999, Sources of calcium and strontium in desert soil and calcrete, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 170, 61-72.

Capo, R.C., Stewart, B.W., and Chadwick, O.A., 1998, Strontium isotopes as tracers of earth surface processes: theory and methods, Geoderma, v. 82, 197-225.

Banner, J. L., Musgrove, M., and Capo, R. C., 1994, Tracing ground-water evolution in a limestone aquifer using Sr isotopes: Effects of multiple sources of dissolved ions and mineral-solution reactions, Geology, v. 22, 687-690.

Capo, R. C., 1994, Micromorphology and geochemistry of a Cambrian paleosol developed on granite, Llano Uplift region, central Texas, USA, in Ringrose-Voase, A. and Humphreys, G., eds., Soil Micromorphology: Studies in Management and Genesis. Developments in Soil Science Series, v. 22, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 257-264.

Capo, R. C. and DePaolo, D. J., 1990, Seawater strontium isotope variations from 2.5 million years ago to the present, Science, v. 249, 51-55.




  • Benjamin Hedin
  • 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
  • Craig Rowland
  • 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