Anjana K Shah


Anji Shah is a research geophysicist with the Crustal Geophysics and Geochemistry Science Center in Denver, CO, specializing in the use of gravity, magnetic and radiometric methods for geologic characterization and interpretation. She is currently working on several projects involving subsurface geologic characterization for earthquake hazard, mineral resource, and energy resource applications. She also has a background in marine geophysics.

For earthquake hazard studies, Dr. Shah uses gravity and magnetic data to distinguish contacts between subsurface rocks with different densities or magnetic properties. In some regions, these contacts may delineate buried faults and other structures that suggest seismic risk (see this article for application to the 2011 Mw5.8 Mineral, Virginia earthquake). Gravity and magnetic data can also be used to distinguish areas that may be more likely to exhibit seismicity in response to fluid injection (see this article for application to north-central Oklahoma).

Dr. Shah has also led several projects involving imaging and evaluation of rare-earth-element (REE) deposits. Concentrations of REE-bearing minerals in certain geological environments can be detected using radiometric and magnetic methods.  Heavy mineral sands are of particular interest because their extraction involves minimal impact; REE-bearing monazite and xenotime have been observed throughout the southeastern U.S. (visit related project page).  The Eastern Adirondacks were mined in the 1800’s and 1900’s for magnetite. The ores also contain REE-bearing apatite, and often REE’s are present in mining tailings. A combination of geophysical, geological and geochronological approaches is being used to study this area (visit related project page).


Ph.D.   Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University, 2001

M.S.     Oceanography, University of Washington, 1996

M.S.     Applied Mathematics, New York University, 1990

B.S.     Mathematics, Stony Brook University, 1988


Research Geophysicist, U.S. Geological Survey, 2007-present

Senior Research Scientist, Dynamics Technology, Inc. (now Raytheon Company), 2004-2007. 

National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Associate, Naval Research Laboratory, 2001-2004. 

Selected Recent Abstracts / Conference Proceedings

Shah, A., Walsh, G., Taylor, R., Taylor, C., Aleinikoff, J., Klein, A., Regan, S., and Lupulescu, M., 2016, Geophysical, geochemical, and geological approaches to evaluating rare earth resources in the Eastern Adirondacks, upstate New York, Geological Society of America 2016 Annual Meeting. Link

Boyd, O.S. and A. K. Shah, 2016, Progress on the USGS National Crustal Model for seismic hazard studies, Seismological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2016. Link

Shah, A., R. Stanley, K.A. Lewis, P.J. Haeussler, C.J. Potter, R.W. Saltus and J. Phillips, 2015, Aeromagnetic survey data used to map features of the Cook Inlet and Susitna basins, Alaska, AGU-SEG Workshop "Potential field and electromagnetic methods applied to basin studies," 2015. Link

Pratt, T., A. Shah, and J.W. Horton, 2014, Discerning Faults Responsible for the Charleston, SC earthquake of 1886, Seismological Society of America Annual Meeting, 2014. Link

Selected Publications

Earthquake Hazards

Shah, A., and G.R. Keller, 2017, Geologic influence on induced seismicity: constraints from potential field data in Oklahoma, Geophysical Research Letters, 43, doi:10.1002/2016GL071808 

Shah, A., J.W. Horton Jr., W.C. Burton, D.B. Spears and A.K. Gilmer, 2015, Subsurface geologic features of the 2011 central Virginia earthquakes revealed by airborne geophysics, in Horton, J.W., M.C. Chapman, and R.A. Green, eds., The 2011 Mineral, Virginia earthquake and its significance for seismic hazards in Eastern North America, GSA Special Paper 509Link

Horton Jr., J.W., A. Shah, D.E. McNamara, S.L. Snyder, and A.M. Carter, 2015, Aftershocks illuminate the 2011 Mineral, Virginia earthquake causative fault zone and nearby active faults, in Horton, J.W., M.C. Chapman, and R.A. Green, eds., The 2011 Mineral, Virginia earthquake and its significance for seismic hazards in Eastern North America, GSA Special Paper 509Link

Van Noten, K., T. Lecocq, A. Shah, T. Camelbeeck, 2015, Seismotectonic significance of the 2008-2010 Walloon Brabant seismic swarm in the Brabant Massif, Belgium, TectonophysicsLink

Shah, A., 2014.  Airborne Geophysical Surveys over the 2011 Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake Area. U.S. Geological Survey ScienceBase. Data files and documentation. doi: 10.5066/F78K773V. Link.

Natural Resources

Shah, A., C.R. Bern, B.S. Van Gosen, D.L. Daniels, W. M. Benzel, J. R. Budahn, K.J. Ellefsen, A. Karst, and R. Davis, 2017, Rare earth mineral potential in the southeastern U.S. Coastal Plain from integrated geophysical, geochemical, and geological approaches, Geological Society of America Bulletin,  DOI: 10.1130/B31481.1. Link (GSA) Link (GeoScienceWorld)

Shah, A.K., 2016, Airborne Geophysical Surveys over the Eastern Adirondacks, New York State: U.S. Geological Survey data release,

Bern, C.R., A. Shah, W.M. Benzel and H.A. Lowers, 2016, The distribution and composition of REE-bearing minerals in placers of the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains, USA, Journal of Geochemical Exploration, 162, p. 50-61, Link

Berquist, C.R., A.K. Shah, and A. Karst, 2015, Placer deposits of the Atlantic Coastal Plain: stratigraphy, sedimentology, mineral resources, mining and reclamation: Cove Point, Maryland, Williamsburg and Stony Creek, Virginia, Society of Economic Geology Guidebook, 50, 48 pp. Link

Lewis, K.A., C.J. Potter, A.K. Shah, R.G. Stanley, P.J. Haeussler and R.W. Saltus, 2015, Preliminary interpretation of industry two-dimensional seismic data from Susitna Basin, south-central Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015-1138, 51 p., Link

Van Gosen, B., D. Fey, A. Shah, P. Verplanck, and T. Heofen, 2014, Deposit Model for heavy-mineral sands in coastal environments, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2010-5070-L. Link.

Shah, A., P. Bedrosian, E. Anderson, K. Kelley and J. Lang, 2013, Integrated geophysical imaging of a concealed mineral deposit: A case study of the world-class Pebble porphyry deposit in southwestern Alaska,Geophysics, 78, 5, B317-B328. Link

Shah, A., P. Vogt, J. Rosenbaum, W. Newell, T. Cronin and D. Willard,  R. Hagen, J. Brozena, and A. Hofstra, 2012, Shipboard magnetic field "noise" reveals shallow heavy mineral sediment concentrations in Chesapeake Bay, Marine Geology, 303-306, 26-41. Link

Shah, A. and Harris, M.S., 2012, Shipboard magnetic field data trace magnetic sources in marine sediments: Geophysical studies of the Stono and North Edisto Inlets near Charleston, South Carolina, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012-1112. Link

Marine Geophysics

Shah, A., D. Daniels, A. Kontny, and J. Brozena, 2009, Megablocks and melt pockets in the Chesapeake Bay impact structure constrained using magnetic field measurements and properties of the Eyreville and Cape Charles cores, in Gohn, G.S., Koeberl, C., Miller, K.G. and Reimold, W.U., eds., The ICDP-USGS Deep Drilling Project in the Chesapeake Bay Impact Structure: Results from the Eyreville Core Holes, GSA Special Paper 458, 195-208. Link

Blacic, T., G. Ito, A. Shah, J. P. Canales, and J. Lin, 2008, Axial High Topography and Partial Melt in the Crust and Mantle beneath the Western Galapagos Spreading Center, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems,9, Q12005.

Shah, A., J. Brozena, P. Vogt, D. Daniels and J. Plescia, 2005, New surveys of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure suggest melt pockets and target structure effect, Geology, 33, 417-420.

Shah, A. and W. R. Buck, 2006, The rise and fall of axial highs at ridge jumps, Journal of Geophysical Research, 111, B08101. 

Shah, A., M.-H. Cormier, W. F. Ryan, W. Jin, J. Sinton, E. Bergmanis, J. Carlut, A. Bradley and D. Yoerger, 2003, Episodic dike swarms inferred from near-bottom magnetic anomaly maps at the southern East Pacific Rise; Journal of Geophysical Research, 108, 2097.

Shah, A. and W. R. Buck, 2003, Plate bending stresses at axial highs and implications for faulting behavior, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 211, 343-356.

Cormier, M.-H., W. B. Ryan, A. Shah, W. Jin, A. M. Bradley, D. Yoerger, 2003, Waxing and waning volcanism along the East Pacific Rise on the millennium timescale, Geology, 31, 7, 633–636.

Shah, A. and W. R. Buck, 2001, Causes for axial high topography at mid-ocean ridges and the role of crustal thermal structure, Journal of Geophysical Research, 106, 30,865-30,879.

Shah, A. and J.-C. Sempéré, 1998, Morphology of the transition from an axial high to a rift valley at the Southeast Indian Ridge, and the relation to variations in mantle temperature, Journal of Geophysical Research,103, 5203-5223.

Géli, L., H. Bougalt, D. Aslanian, A. Briais, J. Etoubleau, M. Maia, J.-P. LeFormal, H. Ondréas, C. Richardson, K. Sayanagi, A. Shah, I. Vlastelic, M. Yamamoto, 1997, A geophysical and geochemical study of the Pacific-Antarctic Ridge south of the Udintsev FZ: The Pacantarctic cruise with R/V L'Atalante, Science, 278, 1281-1284.

Goff, J. A., Y. Ma, A. Shah, J. R. Cochran, and J.-C. Sempéré, 1996, Stochastic analysis of seafloor morphology on the flanks of the Southeast Indian Ridge: The influence of ridge morphology on the formation of abyssal hills, Journal of Geophysical Research, 102, 15,521-15,534.