error Coronavirus Updates expand_more
Miquela Ingalls

Miquela Ingalls

Office Address: 
508 Deike Building
Assistant Professor
Department of Geosciences
PDF icon Curriculum Vitae (239.61 KB)
Research Interests: 
  • Stable and ‘clumped’ isotope geochemistry
  • Terrestrial paleo-environments and tectonics
  • Biological and chemical sediments
  • Carbonate alteration processes

I combine field geology, petrography, and stable isotope geochemistry to improve the use of chemical sediments in tectonic and paleoenvironmental reconstructions. I am particularly interested in how terrestrial environments, like those in which humans live, responded to globally warm periods in Earth history to better understand how our habitats will adapt (or not) to future warming. To understand the feedbacks of tectonic uplift, weathering, and marine and atmospheric carbon, I measure carbon, oxygen, and clumped isotopes in carbonate rocks to reconstruct uplift of high-altitude terranes and alkalinity of ancient oceans. In addition, I am interested in reconstructing the phosphate levels of Precambrian environments to better understand the how phosphate accumulated for prebiotic phosphorylation and the role phosphate played in biological processes on early Earth.

Current projects:

  • What were the alkalinity and phosphate levels of carbonate-forming environments on Precambrian Earth and Mars? How did these chemical conditions impact or facilitate the evolution of early life?  
  • What is the fate of wastewater in the Florida Keys, and what novel techniques could be used to remove nutrients from the subsurface karst? (collaboration with Lee Kump)
  • What processes facilitate late-stage, shallow carbonate diagenesis, and how can we detect cryptic carbonate alteration on the micron to nanometer scale to improve tectonic reconstructions?
  • Who are the metabolic players in organic and inorganic carbon cycling in alkaline lakes, and how do they impact geochemical and isotopic signals recorded in microbial carbonate facies?  (collaboration with CU-Boulder and Weber State University)
  • How did Earth’s terrestrial environments respond to globally warm periods and tectonics?

Ingalls, M., Blättler, C., Higgins, J., Magyar, J.S., Eiler, J., and Fischer, W.W. (2020) P/Ca in carbonates as a proxy for alkalinity and phosphate levels, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1029/2020GL088804.

Smith, B.P., Ingalls, M., Trower, E.J., Lingappa, U.F., Present, T.M., Magyar, J.S., and Fischer, W.W. (2020) Physical and chemical controls on flat-pebble deposits: an analog from the Great Salt Lake, Utah, Sedimentology,  doi: 10.1029/2020JF005733.

Ingalls, M., Rowley, D.B., Currie, B.S., and Colman, A.S., (2020) Reconsidering the uplift history and peneplanation of the northern Lhasa terrane, Tibet, American Journal of Science, 320: 479-532, doi: 

Ingalls, M., Frantz, C.M., Snell, K.E., and Trower, E.J., (2020) Carbonate facies-specific stable isotope data record climate, hydrology, and microbial communities in Great Salt Lake, UT, Geobiology, 18: 566-
593, doi: 10.1111/gbi.12386.

Ingalls, M. (2019) Reconstructing carbonate alteration histories in orogenic sedimentary basins: Xigaze forearc, southern Tibet, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 251: 284-300,

Ingalls, M., Rowley, D.B., Currie, B.S., Olack, G., Li, S., Tremblay, M., Schmidt, J., Shuster, D., Zeitler, P., Lin, D., and Colman, A.S., (2017) Paleocene to Pliocene low-latitude high elevation of southern Tibet:
Implications for tectonic models of India-Asia collision, Cenozoic climate, and geochemical weathering, GSA Bulletin, doi:10.1130/B31723.1.

Ingalls, M., Rowley, D.B., Currie, B.S., and Colman, A., (2016) Large-scale subduction of continental crust implied by India-Asia mass-balance calculation, Nature Geoscience, doi:10.1038/ngeo2806.


I am a sedimentary geochemist who works in modern and ancient environments to understand how chemical sediments archive Earth history information.