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Arizonans to drop, cover, and hold on during the Great Shakeout

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-10-15 20:52


Thursday is ShakeOut Thursday. At 10:16 am on 10/16, 120,000 Arizonans and 24 million people worldwide will “Drop, cover and hold on” to practice responding to earthquakes.  The  organizers remind us that everyone, everywhere, should know how to protect themselves in an earthquake. Even if earthquakes are rare where you live, they may happen where you or your family travel.

Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills are an annual opportunity for people in homes, schools, and organizations to practice what to do during earthquakes, and to improve preparedness.

I've lost track of the number of people who say that Arizona doesn't have earthquakes. Not true.  The recent magnitude 5.2 Duncan earthquake with hundreds of aftershocks reminded eastern Arizonans of the risk.  Learn more at  http://www.shakeout.org/

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

National Fossil Day - Arizona's state fossil is petrified wood

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-10-15 19:46


Happy National Fossil Day!   The National Park Service organizes the events and promotional materials - http://nature.nps.gov/geology/nationalfossilday/
The Arizona State Fossil, petrified wood, is among a long list of state symbols shown on the Arizona Secretary of State's website.
http://www.azsos.gov/public_services/kids_state_symbols.htm

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

AZGS hazard viewer added to Arizona Emergency Information Network

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-10-13 20:00
The AZGS online hazards viewer is now linked in throught the Arizona Emergency Information Network - https://ein.az.gov/.

The viewer currently inlcudes information on earth fissures, active faults, earthquake epicenters, flood potential, and wildfire risk.




Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Geologic data program preserves mining files in Arizona

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-10-13 08:19
Congress is considering reauthorization of the National Geological & Geophysical Data Preservation Program, first passed in 2005.    The program, based in the USGS, puts up small matching funds to help state geological surveys to catalog and digitize our vast archives.    Since 2011, AZGS has successfully competed for funds to help digitize the files we acquired in the merger of the Arizona Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources.    These files are being placed online at minedata.azgs.az.gov for free downloading.   We are working through hundreds of thousands of pages of files and reports, 10,000 maps, and thousands of historical photos, to get them scanned, catalogued, georeferenced and online.

Randy Showstack, reporter for AGU's Eos newspaper, covered the hearing in the House last month, and wrote a story describing the scope of the program nationally and some of its other impacts - http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014EO390002/pdf

AZGS funding from the program has ranged from about $25 to $40 thousand per year, among the larger grants in the country.   Over, Congress has appropriated about $8 million since 2007, with $4.6 million going to state surveys.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

New role with National Data Repositories

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-10-11 19:02



Since the recession hit, the Arizona Geological Survey has relied on external grants to replace state appropriations so that 80-90% of our budget now comes these sources. Fortunately, our expertise in open data and data integration has put us in a national leadership role and increasingly a player in the international data environment, to compete for funding.
I'm back from Baku, Azerbaijan and the meeting of the National Data Repositories consortium, where I was chosen as Chair of the 30-nation organization for the next 18 months.  
The meeting organizer, Energistics, is releasing the following statement regarding the meeting:

Managing growing volumes of data generated by the oil and gas industry is a common challenge for all oil regulators around the world. Typically regulators have resolved the problem by establishing National Data Repositories (NDRs). The twelfth meeting of these oil regulators to discuss common issues and problems was held in early October 2014 in Baku, Azerbaijan. The event was hosted by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and it was appropriate that the conference was held in view of the first commercially drilled oil well in the world. [Right, me standing at the world's first commercial oil well, drilled in 1847]
Regulators from 22 countries plus delegates from major oil industry service companies and software suppliers met to share best practices and update the progress made on collaborative projects since the last meeting. More importantly, they discussed how to improve the quality of data delivered to regulators, how to improve the profile of NDRs and how to enhance the value of the data.  Data management best practices increase efficiency, leverage new technology developments and improves industry compliance while promoting economic development and protecting the environment.
Tirza van Daalen, TNO – Netherlands, and Chair of the meeting said, “This was an excellent meeting that exceeded our expectations. There is a real desire for regulators to cooperate and we are expecting real progress in various data standards areas before the next meeting in North America in 2016”.
Jerry Hubbard, President & CEO of Energistics, organizers of the event said, “I believe the next eighteen months will show real progress in collaboration between regulators as they assimilate the lessons learned and the benefits of sharing."
Two of my goals as Chair are to expand on interactions and collaborations among the data repositories between meetings, and to get more of the many U.S. state and federal oil gas regulatory agencies participating in NDR in advance of the Spring 2016 conference to be held in North America.  The U.S. oil and gas community has a lot to learn from and to share with our international counterparts.
I was excited to find that the work AZGS is doing with the US Geoscience Information Network (USGIN) appears to map easily to a quickly growing area of data "business rules." Delegates to the meeting suggested that the 1,000+ data parameters we developed in 30 data content models might form the basis for a global framework.
For more information on the National Data Repository Work Group and NDR2014, please visit www.ndr2014.org.   Find out more about USGIN at usgin.org.


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Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Geosciences is top UA program in Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-10-11 18:11


The University of Arizona scored high in the 2014 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities, with the Geosciences Department achieving the highest ranking of any program in the university.  http://nturanking.lis.ntu.edu.tw/
The notice to the University of Arizona said it "ranks 73 in Overall Ranking, 6 of its fields are enrolled in top 300 Ranking, and 10 of its subjects are enrolled in top 300 ranking. Overall, 17 of its respective rankings have entered The 2014 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities."
  *   73 for Overall Ranking  *   20 for Geosciences  *   21 for Physics  *   23 for Environment/Ecology  *   33 for Agriculture
According to NTU, "The 2014 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universitie is released by the National Taiwan University Ranking (NTU Ranking). Formerly known as the HEEACT Ranking during 2007-2010, this ranking program offers annual performance rankings for world universities based on the production and impact of their scientific papers.
The Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities is a stable and reliable ranking for universities devoted to scientific research. It is entirely based on statistics of scientific papers which reflect three major performance criteria—research productivity, research impact, and research excellence. This year, in addition to the overall performance ranking, we also offer 6 field-based rankings and 14 subject-based rankings. We are committed to continually update and release new annual overall, field, and subject rankings in the future. For more information about our ranking program, please go to http://nturanking.lis.ntu.edu.tw/"

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Updated subsidence maps released with standardized legends

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-10-11 11:13
Arizona Dept. of Water Resources has updated all the land subsidence maps on ADWR’s website so that they are all using the same color scale.  Project manager Brian Conway expects this will help eliminate any confusion that people are having when comparing maps for one or more area and when looking at different periods of time.  There are 213 land subsidence maps available for download as pdfs.  [Right, interactive subsidence map viewer.  Yellow boxes outline basins with maps available. ADWR]

He has also added land subsidence rate maps for each land subsidence feature and there are a total of 45 land subsidence rate maps available for download.  The land subsidence rate maps also use a same color interval. 

http://www.azwater.gov/AzDWR/Hydrology/Geophysics/LandSubsidenceInArizona.htm
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Rockfall on Arizona route 77

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-10-11 10:21
A large rockfall occurred on AZ Route 77, north of Carrizo Junction in east-central Arizona on Sunday, Sept 28.  AZGS's Steve Rauzi happened to be there and captured this picture. The rock in the road appears to be about 4 ft X 4 ft X 4 ft.  The total weight is probably on the order of 3,200 pounds. 

Steve's image is superposed on a Google Earth image of AZ 77 near where the rockfall occurred. 
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Magnitude 3.4 earthquake near Miami, Arizona

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-09-28 03:46
There was a magnitude 3.4 earthquake on Sept. 20, 17 miles NNW of Miami and 63 miles east of Phoenix, at 1:03 p.m.   [Right, the orange star marks the epicenter.   Credit USGS]



Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Near record peak discharge on San Pedro River

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2014-09-18 18:42


Although we got very little rain in Tucson from Hurricane Odile remnants, southeastern Arizona and northern Sonora got a lot of rain. The southernmost stream gauge on the San Pedro River is at Palominas, a few miles north of the U.S. – Mexico border. Its peak discharge of 18,500 cfs at 10:15 am this morning is the 2ndlargest flood at this gauge since 1926.  
Dr. Phil Pearthree, chief of the AZGS Environmental Geology Section, warns that we could see some bank erosion and rearrangement of our youngest geologic units along the river, although he expects that the flood peak and the effects of the flood will diminish to the north.   [Right, geologic map along the San Pedro River. AZGS]

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Industry encouraged to participate in Fraser Institute "Survey of Mining Companies"

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-09-14 14:18

I want to encourage Arizona mining company executives to participate in this year's survey of government jurisdictions based on their attractiveness to mining investment.  We review the findings each year for Arizona and share them with state and legislative leaders.  

The Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank, conducts this annual global survey and "the results help identify the countries, states, and provinces whose mining policies either attract or repel investors. Participants also offer critical insight into the policy issues that matter most to the global mining industry."

We also interview the survey director on our online video magazine "Arizona Mining Review" to answer questions about Arizona's favorability.

To participate in this year’s survey, visit www.fraserinstitute.org/miningsurvey2014. To learn more about this project, please contact Taylor Jackson, survey coordinator, at (604) 688-0221 ext. 553 or taylor.jackson@fraserinstitute.org.
---------------------------------
From Fraser Institute:   Our Survey of Mining Companies: 2013 (published March 2014) ranked the investment climate of 112 jurisdictions around the world based on the opinions of mining executives representing 690 mineral exploration and development companies. Participating companies reported exploration spending of $4.6 billion US in 2012 and $3.4 billion US in 2013.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Industry encouged to participate in Fraser Institute "Survey of Mining Companies"

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-09-14 14:18

I want to encourage Arizona mining company executives to participate in this year's survey of government jurisdictions based on their attractiveness to mining investment.  We review the findings each year for Arizona and share them with state and legislative leaders.  

The Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank, conducts this annual global survey and "the results help identify the countries, states, and provinces whose mining policies either attract or repel investors. Participants also offer critical insight into the policy issues that matter most to the global mining industry."

We also interview the survey director on our online video magazine "Arizona Mining Review" to answer questions about Arizona's favorability.

To participate in this year’s survey, visit www.fraserinstitute.org/miningsurvey2014. To learn more about this project, please contact Taylor Jackson, survey coordinator, at (604) 688-0221 ext. 553 or taylor.jackson@fraserinstitute.org.
---------------------------------
From Fraser Institute:   Our Survey of Mining Companies: 2013 (published March 2014) ranked the investment climate of 112 jurisdictions around the world based on the opinions of mining executives representing 690 mineral exploration and development companies. Participating companies reported exploration spending of $4.6 billion US in 2012 and $3.4 billion US in 2013.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Permits issued for helium exploration

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-09-08 21:00

The Arizona Oil & Gas Conservation Commission has approved permits for two new wells in the Holbrook area, reportedly to evaluate helium potential.  State permits #1194 and #1195 are posted on the AZOGCC website.    The permits were issued to Ranger Development LLC, based in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The well proposed in Sec. 33-20n-26e is located in the old Pinta Dome helium field [right, from AZGS report "Oil, Gas and Helium in Arizona: Its Occurrence and Potential," 1961]. The well in 31-20n-27e is located in the old Navajo Springs field.


Categories: AZGS Web Posts

A day of flooding across Arizona

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-09-08 20:35
We sent AZGS employees home a little early today after the City of Tucson sent their non-essential staff home at 3 p.m. News reports said the city had closed or was closing bridges across the Santa Cruz River, which lies only a block west of our offices.  There were fears that the high waters might undermine the river banks and threaten the structural integrity of the bridges.   I left at 5 p.m. worried that I would not be be able to get over the river to get to our home in the Tucson Mountains.  But the river level was down as I drove over it.  City workers were measuring the water flow, and local tv crews were capturing it all.  [Right, flooding on Interstate 10 in downtown Phoenix]

Visitors to Tucson are often surprised at the general lack of culverts and storm drains.   Streets typically follow the lay of the land, dropping down as they cross washes and gulleys.    Runoff from rain storms flows down washes and right across the roads.  Motorists are repeatedly warned not to cross washes with even what seem to be low levels of flowing water, not realizing the power of that water to sweep away vehicles or at least strand them.

AZGS geologists were responding to reports of heavy runoff eroding and undercutting roadways and other structures.    

Governor Jan Brewer issued a declaration of emergency in response to flooding statewide:



            PHOENIX – Governor Jan Brewer today declared a State of Emergency in response to record flooding in Arizona.  

            On September 8, 2014, powerful rains combined with remnants of Hurricane Norbert caused record precipitation and flooding throughout Arizona. The storms resulted in significant impacts to transportation infrastructure throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area in Maricopa County, including the closure of State Route 51, Interstate 10 and 17 and U.S. Route 60. The heavy rains also threatened lives, caused residential damages, forced evacuations in La Paz County and required emergency response search and rescue missions, including the American Red Cross opening shelters in Maricopa and La Paz Counties. The threat of flooding remains high due to heavily saturated soils and the anticipation of additional waves of precipitation.
            Governor Brewer is authorized under to A.R.S. § 26-303(D) to declare a State of Emergency to provide financial support for eligible response and recovery costs.  Maricopa and La Paz Counties have declared a state of emergency and are requesting the state’s financial assistance to recover from the flooding. The Governor’s Declaration:
a.         Declares that a State of Emergency exists in Maricopa and La Paz Counties due to flooding, effective September 8, 2014; and
b.         Acknowledges that this weather system is still passing through the State of Arizona, and will be amended to include additional counties as the situation requires; and
c.         Directs that the sum of $200,000 from the general fund be made available to the Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management; and
d.         Directs that the State of Arizona Emergency Response and Recovery Plan be used to direct and control state and other assets and authorize the Director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management to coordinate state assets; and
e.         Authorizes the Adjutant General to mobilize and call to activate all or such part of the Arizona National Guard as is determined necessary to assist in the protection of life and property throughout the State.        
            Preliminary damage assessments will be scheduled by the Arizona Department of Emergency Management’s Recovery Office in conjunction with the counties, as requested. Response costs and damage to public infrastructure have not yet been estimated by the counties.
            Visit the Arizona Emergency Information Network website – www.AzEIN.gov – for emergency updates, preparedness and hazard information, and multimedia resources.


Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Small quake near Holbrook

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-09-07 08:58
A magnitude 2.6 earthquake hit about 6 miles northeast of Holbrook at 2:07 a.m. this morning. This area rarely sees measurable earthquakes.  [Right, orange star marks the epicenter. Credit, USGS]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

New global potash commodity report from USGS

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-09-06 09:54
The USGS has released the 2014 minerals commodity study for potash, which describes the global disruption of the market and price last year due to the breakup of the Russia-Belarus marketing company.  

We're following developments because the Holbrook basin [right, thickness map of potash. source AZGS] holds a significant potash resource at shallow depths and located on a major rail line and interstate. The US imports about 85% of the potash used in the country, mostly for fertilizer.  The one mine in Michigan shut down, while a new mine opened in New Mexico.

The USGS reported:
A Canadian company continued development of a new underground potash mine in southeastern New Mexico. Initial production was expected to begin in 2016, with annual production of 568,000 tons of SOP and 275,000 tons of SOPM.

In 2013, progress continued in the development of new mines and expansion of existing facilities in more than 15 countries worldwide. Projects in Canada, Laos, and Russia were expected to be completed by 2017. Other important projects in Belarus, Brazil, Congo (Brazzaville), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Russia, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan were not expected to be operational until after 2018.
World consumption of potash, for all applications, was expected to increase by about 3% per year over the next several years. The Holbrook basin proposed developments seem to be on hold while the market sorts itself out.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Did lithium mines seal the deal for Tesla battery factory going to Nevada?

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2014-09-04 18:25
Tesla has chosen Reno, Nevada as the site for its  $5 billion factory to supply lithium batteries for its electric cars, beating out competitors including Arizona. 

A story today by Dorothy Kosich at Mineweb.com quotes John Boyd, a principal of the site selection firm The Boyd Company, as telling the Wall Street Journal, “I think the single most important factor is the [site’s] low-cost green power, including solar, wind and geothermal energy for the plant. He also cited Nevada’s lack of corporate and personal income taxes as positive factors."

Arizona may have sent mixed messages on this front, offering tax breaks and other incentives, but with concurrent debates at the Arizona Corporation Commission over continuing utility subsidies for solar power, and proposals to roll back the requirement for utilities to provide 15% of their electrical power from renewable energy resources.

Dorothy also points out that  "Nevada currently is home to the only brine lithium operation in the United States. Rockwood Lithium, which produces lithium carbonate from brines near Silver Peak, Nevada, has invested $75 million in an expansion of its U.S. lithium production. Pure Energy Minerals holds contiguous claims near the Silver Peak operation."   She notes that Western Lithium’s King Valley project is often promoted thusly: “Nevada is uniquely positioned to support the world-wide increase in renewable energy production and demand for electric vehicles through lithium mining—the key ingredients to the high-performance batteries, which will power electric vehicles and be used in utility-scale energy storage projects.”

How much did Nevada's support for producing the minerals needed for manufacturing batteries play into Tesla's decision?

[updated 9-6-14]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Position Opening: Deputy Director, Arizona Geological Survey

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2014-09-04 10:58


The Arizona Geological Survey (www.azgs.az.gov), an independent state agency reporting directly to the Governor, seeks to hire a Deputy Director at its headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, with strong team-building, leadership, management, and communication skills and the ability to design, implement, and manage complex, multidisciplinary scientific programs in support of agency and state needs. The agency has never had a Deputy Director position, but increased demands to manage the growing staff, carry out the portfolio of large complex projects, and seek state and grant funding, require establishment of the position. 
Job SummaryActs in a senior capacity to manage the internal operations of the agency that are necessary to carry out its programs and activities. Assists the Director and Section Chiefs in developing the agency’s programs, maintain scientific and technical proficiency of staff members and the agency, helps construct and implement the agency’s annual work plans and priorities based on available resources, allocates agency human and fiscal resources, and responds to requests and inquiries from the Governor, Legislature, local, state, and federal agencies, business and industry, news media, professional organizations, and the public.  Supervises the agency’s Section Chiefs.   Acts on behalf of department director in the Director´s absence; represents the agency with its stakeholders, clients, and partners.  Carries out geoscience projects in the incumbent’s area of scientific expertise or as needed.  
Education and Experience Requirements·         Degree in Geological or Earth Sciences or closely related field, and at least 5 years of experience in the management of scientific programs; advanced degree encouraged·         Managerial experience overseeing complex projects involving teams of geologists, computer and information scientists, and other professionals and support staff with diverse educational and work experience backgrounds 
Position Type: Permanent position, E1, in Arizona State Government, salary range, $51,499 - $97,335.The State of Arizona offers a comprehensive benefits package that can be effective within the first two weeks of your employment that includes affordable health, dental and vision insurance, accrued vacation and sick leave, 10 holidays per year; long-term disability; retirement plan; and life insurance. Optional employee benefits include deferred compensation, short-term disability, flexible spending account for medical/dependent care expenses and supplemental life insurance.  We also offer free covered garage parking, Tuition Reimbursement and Public Transit Discounts. Position is located in Tucson.
How to Apply: Fill out an application at: https://azstatejobs.azdoa.gov/ltmprod/xmlhttp/shorturl.do?key=KG2 or applications may be sent in the form of a resume and cover letter to resumes@azgs.az.gov. Please include “Deputy Director” in your subject line to distinguish your application from other recruitments currently open. First review of applicants will take place September 20, 2014 and continue until the position is filled. 

Arizona State Government is an EOE/ADA Reasonable Accommodation Employer.All newly hired employees will be subject to the E-Verify Employment Eligibility Verification Program.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Updated Arizona energy profile

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2014-09-04 07:38


The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has updated Arizona’s state profile with new monthly data and analysis.  According to the message they sent me, "the updated information includes price, supply, and consumption data for electricity, petroleum, and natural gas resources." The site provides an online interactive map with a wide range of data layers ranging from power plants, pipelines, transmission lines, processing facilities, and fossil and renewable energy resources.
Some quick facts from the Arizona page:
    • Arizona's Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, rated at 3,937 net megawatts, is the largest nuclear power plant in the nation.
    • Arizona ranked second in the nation in utility-scale electricity generation from solar energy in 2013.
    • Arizona, the 15th most populous state in 2012, ranked 43rd in per capita energy consumption, partly because of the state’s small industrial sector.
    • Arizona's only operating coal mine, Kayenta, on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, supplies the 7-to-8 million short tons burned annually by the Navajo Generating Station's three 750-megawatt units.
    • Arizona's Renewable Environmental Standard requires 15% of the state’s electricity consumed in 2025 to come from renewable energy resources; in 2013, 7.8 % of Arizona’s net electricity generation came from renewable resources, primarily from the Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams.
    • Twenty-five percent of the energy consumed in Arizona homes is for air conditioning, which is more than four times the national average of 6 percent, according to EIA's Residential Energy Consumption Survey. 
    Also, they note that Arizona’s album on EIA’s Flickr page provides access all of EIA’s data graphics related to Arizona’s energy sector.
    Categories: AZGS Web Posts

    M2.8 aftershock to Duncan earthquake

    Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-09-03 11:20
    There was another measurable Duncan aftershock last night about 7p.m.  The M2.8 followed a M2.6 event that morning.   [Right, orange star marks epicenter. Credit, USGS]




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