Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences

Anne Sheehan Group

Anne Sheehan Group

I am interested in the geophysical study of the crust and upper mantle of the Earth and its relation to tectonic deformation. My ongoing projects include work in New Zealand, the Rio Grande Rift, the Rocky Mountains, and the Great Plains.

Much of the work I do includes the deployment of portable seismometers that record both distant and local earthquakes. The earthquakes are used as signals to image subsurface structure and to study earthquake source characteristics. I also have a number of collaborative projects including magnetotellurics in the Rocky Mountains and Rio Grande Rift (with Paul Bedrosian and Danny Feucht), Rio Grande Rift GPS (with Steve Nerem, Mark Murray, and Tonie van Dam), and Cascadia tsunami studies using seafloor pressure gauge data (with Aditya Gusman and Kenji Satake).

See also: Geophysical Sciences Program, University of Colorado at Boulder.


Projects of Anne Sheehan Group:

Current Projects

GOALI: Seismic interferometry and reflection imaging of the deep crust

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Feasibility of Controlling Induced Earthquakes: Seismicity Investigation Coupled with Hydrologic Modeling, Weld County, Colorado

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NSF HAZARDS SEES: The Risk Landscape of Earthquakes Induced by Deep Wastewater Injection

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HOBITSS: Hikurangi Ocean Bottom Investigation of Tremor and Slow Slip

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NSF EAGER: Pilot Study: Deep Electrical Structure of the Rio Grande Rift to Constrain Extent and Mechanisms of Rifting

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Measurements of Crustal Deformation and a Multidisciplinary Geophysical Investigation of the Rio Grande Rift

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Past Projects

Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory

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Collaborative Research: Seismotectonics and Structure of Creeping Thrusts and Mountain Building of the Himalaya

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Formation of Basement-involved Foreland Arches: An Integrated EarthScope Experiment in the Bighorns Mountains of Wyoming

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MOANA: New Zealand Ocean Bottom Study of Seismic Anisotropy

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Gusman, A. R., I. E. Mulia, K. Satake, S. Watada, M. Heidarzadeh, and A. F. Sheehan (2016), Estimate of tsunami source using optimized unit sources and including dispersion effects during tsunami propagation: The 2012 Haida Gwaii earthquake, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, 9819–9828, doi:10.1002/2016GL070140.

Yeck, W. L., A. F. Sheehan, H. M. Benz, M Weingarten, J Nakai, Rapid response, monitoring, and mitigation of induced seismicity near Greeley, Colorado, Seismological Research Letters, v. 86, no. 5, Sept/Oct 2016, doi:10.1785/0220150275

Zietlow, D. W., P. H. Molnar, and A. F. Sheehan (2016), Teleseismic P wave tomography of South Island, New Zealand upper mantle: Evidence of subduction of Pacific lithosphere since 45 Ma, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 121, 4427–4445, doi:10.1002/2015JB012624.

O’Rourke, C. T., G. E. Baker, and A. F. Sheehan (2016), Using P/S Amplitude Ratios for Seismic Discrimination at Local Distances, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 106, no. 4, doi:10.1785/0120160035.

Ball, J. S., A. F. Sheehan, J. C. Stachnik, F.-C. Lin, W. L. Yeck, and J. A. Collins (2016), Lithospheric shear velocity structure of South Island, New Zealand, from amphibious Rayleigh wave tomography, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 121, 3686–3702, doi:10.1002/2015JB012726.

Wallace, L. M., S. C. Webb, Y. Ito, K. Mochizuki, R. Hino, S. Henrys, S. Y. Schwartz, A. F. Sheehan, Slow slip near the trench at the Hikurangi subduction zone, New Zealand, Science, 06 May 2016, Vol. 352, Issue 6286, pp. 701-704, DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf2349

Gusman, A. R. A. F. Sheehan, K. Satake, M. Heidarzadeh, I. E. Mulia, and T. Maeda (2016), Tsunami data assimilation of Cascadia seafloor pressure gauge records from the 2012 Haida Gwaii earthquake, Geophys. Res. Lett., 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL068368. (highlighted in EOS research spotlight)

Harris, R.,  Laura Wallace, Spahr Webb, Yoshihiro Ito, Kimihiro Mochizuki, Hiroshi Ichihara, Stuart Henrys, Anne Tréhu, Susan Schwartz, Anne Sheehan, Demian Saffer, and Rachel Lauer (2016), Investigations of shallow slow slip offshore of New Zealand, Eos, 97, doi:10.1029/2016EO048945. Published on 28 March 2016.

O’Rourke, C. T., A. F. Sheehan, E. A. Erslev, and M. L. Anderson, Small‐Magnitude Earthquakes in North‐Central Wyoming Recorded during the Bighorn Arch Seismic Experiment Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 2015, doi:10.1785/0120150114

Worthington, L. L., K. C. Miller, E. A. Erslev, M. L. Anderson, K. R. Chamberlain, A. F. Sheehan, W. L. Yeck, S. H. Harder, and C. S. Siddoway (2015), Crustal structure of the Bighorn Mountains region: Precambrian influence on Laramide shortening and uplift in north-central Wyoming, Tectonics, 34, doi:10.1002/2015TC003840.

Sheehan, A. F., Gusman, A. R., Heidarzadeh, M., and Satake, K. (2015). Array observations of the 2012 Haida Gwaii tsunami using Cascadia Initiative absolute and differential seafloor pressure gauges, Seismol. Res. Lett. 86, no. 5, doi: 10.1785/0220150108.

Karalliyadda, S. C., M. K. Savage, A. Sheehan, J. Collins, D. Zietlow, and A. Shelley (2015), S-wave splitting in the offshore South Island, New Zealand: Insights into plate-boundary deformation, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 16, doi:10.1002/2015GC005882.

McGarr, A., B. Bekins, N. Burkardt, J. Dewey, P. Earle, W. Ellsworth, S. Ge, S. Hickman, A. Holland, E. Majer, J. Rubinstein, and A. Sheehan, Coping with earthquakes induced by fluid injection, Science 20 February 2015: 347 (6224), 830-831. [DOI:10.1126/science.aaa0494].

Ball, J. S., A. F. Sheehan, J. C. Stachnik, F.-C. Lin, and J. A. Collins (2014), A joint Monte Carlo analysis of seafloor compliance, Rayleigh wave dispersion and receiver functions atocean bottom seismic stations offshore New Zealand, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., 15, 5051–5068, doi:10.1002/2014GC005412.

Yeck, W. L., A. F. Sheehan, M. Anderson, E. A. Erslev, K. C. Miller, C. S. Siddoway (2014), Structure of the Bighorn Mountain region from teleseismic receiver function analysis: Implications for the mechanics of Laramide shortening, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 119, DOI: 10.1002/2013JB010769.

Godin, O. A., N. A. Zabotin, A. F. Sheehan, and J. A. Collins, Interferometry of infragravity waves off New Zealand, J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 119, doi:10.1002/2013JC009395, 2014.

Sheehan, A. F., T. L. de la Torre, G. Monsalve, G. A. Abers, and B. R. Hacker, Physical state of Himalayan crust and uppermost mantle: Constraints from seismic attenuation and velocity tomography, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth,119, doi:10.1002/2013JB010601, 2014.

Zietlow, D. W., A. F. Sheehan, P. H. Molnar, M. K. Savage, G. Hirth, J. A. Collins, and B. H. Hager, Upper mantle seismic anisotropy at a strike slip boundary: South Island, New Zealand, J. Geophys. Res. Solid Earth, 119, doi:10.1002/2013JB010676. 2014.

O'Rourke, C., A. Sheehan, E. Erslev, and K. Miller, Estimating Basin Thickness using a High Density Passive Source Geophone Array, Earth & Planetary Science Letters,, 2013.

Yeck, W., L., A. F. Sheehan, and V. Schulte-Pelkum, Sequential H-K Stacking to obtain accurate crustal thicknesses beneath sedimentary basins, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, vol. 103, no. 3, p. 2142-2150, doi:10.1785/0120120290, 2013.

Godin, O. A., N. A. Zabotin, A. F. Sheehan, Z. Yang, and J. A. Collins, Power spectra of infragravity waves in a deep ocean, Geophysical Research Letters, V. 40, no. 10, p. 2159-2165, doi:10.1002/grl.50418, 2013.

Wech, A.G., A. F. Sheehan, C. M. Boese, J. Townend, and T. A. Stern, Tectonic tremor recorded at ocean bottom seismometers, Seismological Research Letters, 84(5), September-October, doi:10.1785/0220120184, 2013.

Boese, C.M., T. A. Stern, J. Townend, S. Bourguignon, A. Sheehan, and E. G. C. Smith, E.G.C., Sub-crustal earthquakes within the Australia-Pacific plate boundary zone beneath the Southern Alps, New Zealand, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 
376, 212-219, 2013, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2013.06.030.

Yang, Z., A. F. Sheehan, J. A. Collins, G. Laske, The character of seafloor ambient noise recorded offshore New Zealand: Results from the MOANA ocean bottom seismic experiment, Geochem. Geophys. Geosyst., Vol. 13, Q1001, doi:10.1029/2012GC004201, 2012.

Supplemental Material

Stachnik, J. C., A. F. Sheehan, D. W. Zietlow, Z. Yang, J. Collins, and A. Ferris, Determination of ocean bottom seismometer orientation via Rayleigh wave polarization, Seismol. Res. Lett., 83(4), 704-713, 2012.

Berglund, H. T., A. F. Sheehan, M. H. Murray, M. Roy, A. R. Lowry, S. Nerem, and F. Blume, Distributed deformation across the Rio Grande Rift, Great Plains, and Colorado Plateau, Geology, 40, 23-36, doi:10.1130/G32418.1, 2012.

Supplemental Material

Yang, Z., A. F. Sheehan, W. L. Yeck, K. C. Miller, E. A. Erslev, L. L. Worthington, and S. H. Harder (2012), Imaging basin structure with teleseismic virtual source reflection profiles, Geophys. Res. Lett., 39, L02303, doi:10.1029/2011GL050035.

Supplemental Material

Collins, J., P. Molnar, and A. Sheehan, Multibeam bathymetric surveys of submarine volcanoes and mega-pockmarks on the Chatham Rise, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 54:3, 329-339, doi: 10.1080/00288306.2011.589860, 2011.

Schulte-Pelkum, V., G. Biasi, A. Sheehan, and C. Jones, "Differential motion between upper crust and lithospheric mantle in the central Basin and Range, Nature Geoscience, v. 4, 619-623, doi:10.1038/NGEO1229, 2011.

Befus, K.M., A. F. Sheehan, M. Leopold, S. P. Anderson, and R. S. Anderson, Seismic constraints on critical zone architecture, Boulder Creek Watershed, Colorado, Vadose Zone J., 10:915-927, doi:10.2136/vzj2010.0108, 2011.

Yang, Z., A. Sheehan, and P. Shearer (2011), Stress-induced upper crustal anisotropy in southern California, J. Geophys. Res., 116, B02302, doi:10.1029/2010JB007655

Monsalve, M., P. J. McGovern, and A. Sheehan, Mantle fault zones beneath the Himalayan Collision: Flexure of the continental lithosphere, Tectonophysics, 477, 66-76,10.1016/j.tecto.2008.12.014, 2009.

Huang, G. C., F. T. Wu, S. W. Roecker, and A. F. Sheehan, Lithospheric structure of the central Himalaya from 3-D tomographic imaging, Tectonophysics, 475, 524-543, 2009.

Monsalve, G., A. Sheehan, C. Rowe, S. Rajaure, Seismic structure of the crust and upper mantle beneath the Himalayas: Evidence for eclogitizaton of lower crustal rocks in the Indian Plate, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 113, B8, B08315, doi: 10.1029/2007JB005424, 2008.

Sheehan, A. F., T. de la Torre, G. Monsalve, V. Schulte-Pelkum, R. Bilham, F. Blume, R. Bendick, F. Wu, M. R. Pandey, S. Sapkota, and S. Rajaure, Earthquakes and crustal structure of the Himalaya from the Himalayan Nepal Tibet Seismic Experiment (HIMNT), Journal of the Nepal Geological Society, V. 28, p. 1-8, Dec.
2008 Special Issue, Proceedings of International Workshop on Seismology, Seismotectonics, and Seismic Hazard in Nepal Himalaya, 28-29, November 2006 and 5th Nepal Geological Congress 26-27 Nov. 2007, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Monsalve, G., C. Viviano, and A. Sheehan, An assessment of Colorado seismicity from a statewide temporary seismic station network, Seismological Research Letters, v. 79, n. 5, p. 645-652, 2008.

De la Torre, T. L., G. Monsalve, A. F. Sheehan, S. Sapkota, F. Wu (2007) Earthquake processes of the Himalayan collision zone in eastern Nepal and the southern Tibetan Plateau, Geophysical Journal International 171 (2), 718–738. doi:10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03537.x

Boyd, O. S., M. K. Savage, A. F. Sheehan, and C. H. Jones, Illuminating the plate interface structure beneath Cook Strait, New Zealand, with receiver functions, J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 112, B06310, doi:10.1029/2006JB004552, 2007.

Monsalve, G., A. Sheehan, V. Schulte-Pelkum, S. Rajaure, M. R. Pandey, and F. Wu, Seismicity and one-dimenstional velocity structure of the Himalayan collision zone: Earthquakes in the crust and upper mantle, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 111, B10301, doi:10.1029/2005JB004062, 2006.

Sheehan, A. F., V. Schulte-Pelkum, O. Boyd, and C. Wilson, Passive source seismology of the Rocky Mountain region, in The Rocky Mountain Region: An Evolving Lithosphere, Geophysical Monograph Series 154, 10.1029/154GM23, p.309-315, 2005.

Boyd, O. S., and A. F. Sheehan, Attenuation tomography beneath the Rocky Mountain Front: Implications for the physical state of the upper mantle, in The Rocky Mountain Region: An Evolving Lithosphere, Geophysical Monograph Series 154, 10.1029/154GM27, p. 361-377, 2005.

Fox, O. C., and A. F. Sheehan, Upper mantle anisotropy beneath Precambrian Province boundaries, Southern Rocky Mountains, in The Rocky Mountain Region: An Evolving Lithosphere, Geophysical Monograph Series 154, 10.1029/154GM26, p.347-360, 2005.

Lastowka, L. A., and A. F. Sheehan, CDROM interstation Pn study across the Rio Grande Rift, in The Rocky Mountain Region: An Evolving Lithosphere, Geophysical Monograph Series 154, 10.1029/154GM28, p. 379-384, 2005.

De la Torre, T. L., and A. F. Sheehan, Broadband seismic noise analysis of the Himalayan Nepal Tibet Seismic Experiment, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., v. 95, 1202-1208, June 2005, doi:10.1785/0120040098.

Schulte-Pelkum, V., G. Monsalve, A. Sheehan, M. R. Pandey, S. Sapkota, R. Bilham, and F. Wu, Imaging the Indian subcontinent beneath the Himalaya, v. 435, pp. 1222-1225, 30 June 2005|doi:10.1038/nature03678.     + supplemental material

Wilson, C. K., C. H. Jones, A. F. Sheehan, P. Molnar, and O. Boyd, Distributed deformation in the lower crust and upper mantle beneath a continental strike-slip fault zone: Marlborough fault system, South Island, New Zealand, Geology, 32, 837-840, 2004.

Boyd, O., C. H. Jones, A. F. Sheehan, Foundering Lithosphere Imaged Beneath the Southern Sierra Nevada, California, USA, Science, 305, 660-662, 2004.

Gilbert, H. J., and A. F. Sheehan, Images of crustal variations in the intermountain west, Journal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 109, B03306, doi:10.1029/2003JB002730, 2004.

Blume, F., and A. F. Sheehan, Quantifying seismic hazard in the Southern Rocky Mountains through GPS measurements of crustal deformation, in Engineering Geology in Colorado:  Contributions, Trends, and Case Histories, edited by D. Boyer, P. Santi, and W. Rogers, Association of   Engineering Geologists Special Publication No. 15,  Colorado Geological Survey Special Publication 55, 2003.

Sheehan, A. F., J. D. Godchaux, and N. Hughes, Colorado Front Range Seismicity and Seismic Hazard, in Engineering Geology in Colorado: Contributions, Trends, and Case Histories, edited by D. Boyer, P. Santi, and W. Rogers, Association of Engineering Geologists Special Publication No. 15, Colorado Geological Survey Special Publication 55, 2003.

Gilbert, Hersh J.; Sheehan, Anne F.; Dueker, Kenneth G.; Molnar, Peter, Receiver functions in the western United States, with implications for upper mantle structure and dynamics, J. Geophys. Res.  Vol. 108 No. B5, 10.1029/2001JB001194, 2003.

Karlstrom, K. E., et al., Structure and evolution of the lithosphere beneath the Rocky Mountains: Initial results from the CD-ROM experiment, GSA Today, v. 12, no. 3, p. 4-10, March 2002.

Gilbert, Hersh., A. F. Sheehan, D. A. Wiens, K. G. Dueker, L. M. Dorman, J. Hildebrand, and S. Webb, Upper mantle discontinuity structure in the region of the Tonga Subduction Zone, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 1855-1858, 2001.

Lastowka, L. A., A. F. Sheehan, and J. M. Schneider, Seismic evidence for partial delamination model for Colorado Plateau uplift, Geophys. Res. Lett., 28, 1319-1322, 2001.

Hazler, S. E., A. Sheehan, D. McNamara, and W. Walter, One-dimensional shear velocity structure of northern Africa from Rayleigh wave group velocity dispersion, Pure Appl. Geophys., 158, 1475-1493, 2001.

Smith, K.D., J. N Brune, D. dePolo, M. K. Savage, R. Anooshehpoor, and A. F.Sheehan, The 1992 Little Skull Mountain earthquake sequence, Southern Nevada Test Site, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 91, 1595-1606, 2001.

Wannamaker, P.E., J.M. Bartley, A.F. Sheehan, C.H. Jones, A.R. Lowry, T.A. Dimitru, T.A. Ehlers, W.S. Holbrook, G.L. Farmer, M.J. Unsworth, D.B. Hall, D.S. Chapman, D.A. Okaya, B.E. John, and J.A. Wolfe, The Great Basin-Colorado Plateau transition in central Utah: An interface between active extension and stable interior, in The Geological Transition: Colorado Plateau to Basin and Range, Erskine, M.C., J.E. Faulds, J.M. Bartley, and P. Rowley (Eds.), UGA/AAPG Guideb. 30/GB78, 1-38, 2001.

Sheehan, A. F., P. M. Shearer, H. Gilbert, and K. G. Dueker, Seismic migration processing of P-SV converted phases for mantle discontinuity structure beneath the Snake River Plain, western United States, Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 105, p. 19055-19065, 2000.

Sheehan, A. F., Microearthquake study of the Colorado Front Range: Combining research and teaching in seismology, Seismol. Res. Lett., 71, 175-179, 2000.

Savage, M. K., and A. F. Sheehan, Seismic anisotropy and mantle flow from the Great Basin to the Great Plains, western United States, Journal of Geophysical Research, 105, 13715-13734, 2000.

Bhattacharyya, J., A. F. Sheehan, K. Tiampo, and J. Rundle, Using genetic algorithms to model broadband regional waveforms for crustal structure in the western United States, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 89, 202-214, 1999.

Bump, H., and, A. F. Sheehan, Crustal thickness variations across the Northern Tien Shan mountains from teleseismic receiver functions,Geophysical Research Letters, 25, 1055-1058, 1998.

Dueker, K. G., and A. F. Sheehan, Mantle discontinuity structure beneath the Colorado Rocky Mountains and High Plains, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 7153-7169, 1998.

Forsyth, D. W., D. S. Scheirer, S. C. Webb, L. M. Dorman, J. A. Orcutt, A. J. Harding, D. K. Blackman, J. Phipps Morgan, R. S. Detrick, Y. Shen, C. J. Wolfe, P. Canales, D. R. Toomey, A. F. Sheehan, S. C. Solomon, and W. S. D. Wilcock, Imaging the deep structure beneath a mid-ocean ridge: Overview of the seismological component of the MELT experiment, Science, 280, 1215-1218, 1998.

Shen, Y., A. Sheehan, K. Dueker, C. de Groot-Hedlin, and H. Gilbert, Mantle discontinuity structure beneath the southern East Pacific Rise (MELT experiment region) from P-to-S converted phases, Science, 280, 1232-1235, 1998.

Keller, G. R., C. M. Snelson, A. F. Sheehan, and K. G. Dueker, Geophysical studies of crustal structure in the Rocky Mountain region: A review, Rocky Mountain Geology, 33, 217-228, 1998.

Lerner-Lam, A., A. Sheehan, and E. Humphreys, Mantle structure at the edge of a craton: Seismological studies of the crust and upper mantle at the transition between the southern Rockies and the Great Plains, Rocky Mountain Geology, 33, 199-216, 1998.

Dueker, K. G., and A. F. Sheehan, Mantle discontinuity structure from mid-point stacks of converted P to S waves across the Yellowstone hotspot track, Journal of Geophysical Research, 102, 8313-8327, 1997.

Ozalaybey, S., M. K. Savage, A. F. Sheehan, J. N. Louie, and J. N. Brune, Shear wave velocity structure in the northern Basin and Range province from the combined analysis of receiver functions and surface waves, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 87, 183-199, 1997.

Sheehan, A. F., C. H. Jones, M. K. Savage, S. Ozalaybey, and J. M. Schneider, Contrasting lithospheric structure beneath the Colorado Plateau and Great Basin: Initial results from Colorado Plateau - Great Basin PASSCAL experiment,Geophysical Research Letters, 24, 2609-2612, 1997.

Sheehan, A. F.,  G. A. Abers,  A. L. Lerner-Lam, and C. H. Jones, Crustal thickness variations across the Colorado Rocky Mountains from teleseismic receiver functions, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 20,391-20,404, 1995.

Internships and Jobs

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Opportunities at University of Colorado

Permanent Job Opportunities

Geoscience Scholarships for Undergraduates

Dr. Sheehan teaches courses in the Department of Geological Sciences and courses that are co-listed with the interdepartmental Geophysics Program. Dr. Sheehan teaches introductory physical geology to undergraduate geology majors and nonmajors, a junior/senior level geophysics course, a colisted senior/grad level field geophysics course, and seismology and geophysical inverse theory at the graduate level. Current course web pages are on Desire2Learn, available to enrolled students.

  • Geology 1010 Intro to Geology 1
  • Geology 4130 Principles of Geophysics
  • Geology 4714/5714 Field Geophysics
  • Geol/Phys/Astr 6610 Earth & Planetary Physics
  • Geol/Phys 6650 Geophysics Seminar
  • Geology 6670 Geophysical Inverse Theory

Members in Anne Sheehan's Group



Phone: 303-492-4597
Fax: 303-492-2606

Campus Address:
Campus Box 339
Department of Geological Sciences
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, Colorado 80309

Shipping Address:
University of Colorado
Benson Earth Sciences Building
Department of Geological Sciences, Campus Box 399
2200 Colorado Ave.
Boulder, CO 80309-0399 USA