Karen H. Fryer

James Banks Foundation Professor Emerita of Geology


Ph.D., M.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.A. with honors in Geology, Wellesley College

Williams College - Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program


Karen Fryer is a structural geologist whose research focuses on field study of the interrelationships between crustal deformation and metamorphism. She has undertaken field research in northern Scotland, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, western Arizona, and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. She teaches courses in physical and environmental geology, structural geology, geological techniques (field, lab, technical writing), petrography, and tectonics. She also has participated in workshops to enhance K–12 science instruction, served as a geoscience councilor in the Council on Undergraduate Research, and currently serves on the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission.

Areas Of Interest / Expertise

  • Deformation of Earth’s crust
  • Tectonics
  • Earthquakes
  • Environmental geology
  • Microscopy
  • Undergraduate research for teaching/learning

Publications / Presentations

  • Curricular Preparation for Research: A Field-Based Research Model for a Petrography Course: Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, v. 16, n. 1, p. 24–26, 1995.
  • What Might Administrators Do To Foster Undergraduate Research: Council on Undergraduate Research Quarterly, v. 15, n. 3, p. 136–138, 1995 (with Donald L. Woodrow).
  • Regional Geological Context for a Course in Petrography: Journal of Geological Education, v. 39, n. 3, p. 217–220, 1991.

Current Research

Dr. Fryer (left) and Dr. Pope relax on a chair of Gore Mtn. garnets.

I have been conducting field mapping and research with my good pal Dr. Bill Miller, in the area of Asheville, NC. We have recently published a geologic map with the North Carolina Geological Survey.

  • Bedrock Geologic Map and Mineral Resources Summary of the Asheville 7.5 Minute Quadrangle, North Carolina: North Carolina Geological Survey, 2008. (with J.W. Miller, Jr., UNCA)
  • Geology of the Ashe Metamorphic Suite in the Beaucatcher Mountain Road Cut, Asheville, North Carolina (1996) Southeastern Geology v. 36, no. 3 (with J.W. Miller, Jr., UNCA)

Recent Research

Elaine Young ’15 (left) and Dr. Fryer in Alaska.

Geology major Elaine Young ’15, Keck Geology Fellow, conducted field and laboratory research as part of a Keck Geology Consortium project. Her research culminated in her honors thesis, defended April 2015, and was presented in Anchorage in May:

  • Young, Elaine K., Karen H. Fryer, Cameron Davidson (Carleton College), John I. Garver (Union College), 2015, Tectonic Evolution Of The Chugach-Prince William Terrane: Geochemistry Of The Orca Group Volcanic Rocks In Eastern Prince William Sound, Alaska: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. Vol. 47, No. 4, p.59

I had the pleasure of working outside my comfort zone with senior geology and microbiology major Eric Mumper, on research of his own design which culminated in:

  • Mumper, Eric, and Karen H. Fryer, 2012, Iron-sulfide concretions of the Ohio Shale: glimpses of deep subseafloor microbial ecosystems of the Late Devonian: Geological Society of America. Abstracts with Programs, v. 44, no. 5, pp. 74.

Contact Info


Schimmel/Conrades Science Center 202
Ohio Wesleyan University
Delaware, OH 43015
P 740-368-3618
E khfryer@owu.edu