AZGS Web Posts

Preliminary Announcement: Basin and Range Province Seismic Hazards Summit III

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-08-27 11:26

The Utah Geological Survey and Western States Seismic Policy Council will convene a Basin and Range Province Seismic Hazard Summit III (BRPSHSIII) January 12 - 17, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The purpose of BRPSHSIII is to bring together geologists, seismologists, geodesists, engineers, emergency managers, and policy makers to present and discuss the latest earthquake-hazards research, and to evaluate research implications for hazard reduction and public policy in the Basin and Range Province.

BRPSHSIII will include a paleoseismology workshop, fieldtrip along the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch fault, poster session, and a proceedings volume.  Paper contributed to the proceedings volume will be published digitally in the Utah Geological Survey's Miscellaneous Publication series.  Digital versions of posters will also be included in the proceedings volume.
BRPSHSIII will include a proceedings volume and a poster session. The papers contributed to the proceedings volume will be published digitally by the UGS, and digital versions of posters can also be included in the volume. Manuscripts are due to the proceedings volume editor by November 31, 2014. If interested in contributing a paper or poster on Basin and Range seismic-hazard research or public policy, please submit a title by September 30, 2014 to:

William Lund, Proceedings Volume Editor | Utah Geological Survey | tel 435-865-9034 | fax 435-865-9037

For additional information and online registration, see the BRPSHSIII webpage at

[taken from the announcement]

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Asteroids named after two ASU professors

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-08-24 18:51
Asteroids have been named after two ASU professors, Phil Christensen and Dave Williams. The two planetary geologists, both faculty members in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Nikki Cassis at ASU reports that Asteroid (10461) Dawilliams was discovered on December 6, 1978, by E. Bowell and A. Warnock at Palomar Observatory. It orbits about 2.42 astronomical units from the Earth in the Main Belt, the vast asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. [right, image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]
Also honored with an asteroid named for his work is Christensen, the instrument scientist for the OSIRIS-Rex Thermal Emission Spectrometer, a mineral-scouting instrument on the OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid Bennu. He was also the principal investigator for the infrared spectrometers and imagers on NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Exploration Rovers.

The asteroid is named (90388) Philchristensen and like Williams’ it too is a Main Belt asteroid that is relatively small – approximately 4.6 kilometers (2.8 miles) across. It was discovered November 24, 2003 by the Catalina Sky Survey. It also poses no risk of collision with Earth.

The naming of asteroids is serious business, presided over by the International Astronomical Union, an organization of professional astronomers.

Upon its discovery, an asteroid is assigned a provisional designation by the Minor Planet Center of the IAU that involves the year of discovery, two letters and, if need be, further digits. When its orbit can be reliably predicted, the asteroid receives a permanent number and becomes eligible for naming. Proposed names must be approved by the IAU’s Committee on Small Body Nomenclature.

Although many objects end up being named after astronomers and other scientists, some discoverers have named the object after celebrities. All four Beatles have their names on asteroids, for example, and there is even one named after James Bond – Asteroid (9007) James Bond.

“I was very surprised to receive this honor from the astronomical community. Only a select few of the Dawn at Vesta participating scientists, who did exemplary work during the mission, were so honored,” said Williams, whose expertise in mapping of volcanic surfaces has been key to developing geologic maps of planetary bodies that include Mars, Io and Vesta.

Christensen and Williams share this honor with several colleagues in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. The following all have namesakes in the sky:
  • Professor Erik Asphaug - Asteroid (7939) Asphaug
  • Professor Jim Bell - Asteroid (8146) Jimbell
  • Foundation Professor and SESE Director Lindy Elkins-Tanton - Asteroid (8252) Elkins-Tanton
  • Professor Emeritus Ronald Greeley - Asteroid (30785) Greeley, and Greeley’s Haven (on Mars)
  • Regents Professor Emeritus Carleton Moore - Asteroid (5046) Carletonmoore
  • Regents’ Professor Sumner Starrfield - Asteroid (19208) Starrfield
  • Professor Meenakshi Wadhwa - Asteroid (8356) Wadhwa
Taken in part from the ASU news release
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Kilometer-long crack opens in Hermosillo - an earth fissure?

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-08-24 17:08
A kilometer-long fissure opened up along Mexican Highway 4 between Hermosillo and the Gulf of California coast recently.   Hermosillo Desde el Cielo flew a drone along the fissure capturing excellent video of the  8-m deep feature.

The local newspaper is reporting that farmers had built levees to collect rainwater.  Such features show up in the drone video, striking perpendicular to the fissure.

AZGS geologists who reviewed the video and reports say it looks like earth fissures found in Arizona and other areas subject to rapid groundwater withdrawal and subsidence.

In Arizona we've seen fissures open up in hours during heavy monsoon rains, as the water enters small cracks that extend down hundreds of feet in depth.  The water rapidly erodes the soft basin sediments, carrying them for hundreds or thousands of feet laterally.

The pooling of rainwater on the ground over an incipient fissure could provide the volumes of water comparable to that of a big rain storm, and cause similar erosion.   So, in this scenario, the fissure does not so much open by extension as the sides are quickly washed away into the long deep narrow incipient crack.   However, it's unprecedented to see one this big form so quickly.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Ho hum, another M3.2 Duncan aftershock

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2014-08-21 02:32

Aftershocks continue in the Duncan area with a M3.2 event on Tuesday night at about 8:16 pm.
[right, orange star marks epicenter. Credit, USGS]

Smaller aftershocks are more common but are not being reported by the USGS.  AZGS is monitoring all the aftershocks with a temporary seismometer network deployed around the main shock area.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Ho hum, another M3.1 Duncan aftershock

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2014-08-21 02:32
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Record number of downloads of AZGS maps and publications

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2014-08-19 10:34

The AZGS’s online document repository delivered more than 27,500 downloads of geologic maps, open-file reports, bulletins, bulletins, circulars and special papers, all in PDF format, during the fiscal year that ended July 31 . The Document Repository is available free, online at  
Currently, there are more than 1,000 discrete titles available providing more than 1,500 geologic objects – maps, reports, bulletins, and more.  This constitutes almost every publication AZGS and it predecessors have produced in the past 125 years.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

ADWR land subsidence report released

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:20
The Arizona Dept. of Water Resources has released its second report on statewide monitoring of land subsidence.

"Land Subsidence Monitoring Report 2" is online for free viewing and downloading. [Right, index maps of active land subsidence areas in Arizona, from the report]

The subsiding basins are all in the Basin and Range province of Arizona, and are those with extensive agriculture or urban development.

Using InSAR and GPS data, "ADWR has identified more than 25 individual land subsidence features in Arizona, collectively covering more than 1,200 square miles of the state."

ADWR has posted 199 land subsidence maps online for downloading.

AZGS contributes funding to the state program.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

M3.1 aftershock from Duncan quake

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-08-18 02:09

A magnitude 3.1 earthquake occurred at 9:13 pm on Friday evening, in the aftershock area of the M5.2 Duncan earthquake. [Right, orange star marks epicenter.  Credit USGS]

The main shock was on June 28 and aftershocks are continuing intermittently, with the largest being M4.1.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Afterschocks continue from Duncan earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-08-13 09:47

The Duncan area of eastern Arizona had another measurable aftershock early this morning, following the June 28, M5.2 event.  A M2.8 quake occurred at 3:33 am local time close to other recent aftershocks.   We expect aftershocks to continue for weeks and possibly months.   [Right, orange star marks epicenter.  Credit, USGS]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Bill Dresher, first State Geologist of Arizona

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-08-11 20:27
We learned late today that Dr. William H. Dresher passed away on August 9.   Bill was named the Dean of the College of Mines and Director of the Arizona Bureau of Mines at the University of Arizona in 1971, and became the first person to hold the title of  “State Geologist." He served as Director and State Geologist until 1981.

In 1977, the Bureau became the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Technology, comprising the geological survey and a mineral technology branch. The Survey was moved out of the University in 1988 to become the Arizona Geological Survey.

Services are scheduled for Thursday, August 14 at 11am with a reception to follow, at Casas Adobes Congregational United Church of Christ, 6801 N. Oracle Rd, Tucson. 520-297-1181.

A short bio is posted on the Camp Miller 2011 Reunion page:

William H. Dresher was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduated from Northeast High School and earned a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University in 1953. He received his Ph.D. in Metallurgy from the University of Utah in 1956. After graduation, he worked for Union Carbide Corporation where, as Assistant Director of Research, he supervised research and development on the extraction and purification of uranium, vanadium, tungsten, molybdenum, and asbestos.

In 1971, he became the Dean of the College of Mines at the University of Arizona, where he increased the College's enrollment and research income, established a degree program in Mineral Economics, and successfully lobbied the Arizona State Legislature for the establishment of a formal state geological survey.

In 1981, He became President of the International Copper Research Association, Inc. (INCRA), supervising product development and providing the leadership that made INCRA an effective organization to promote and defend the use of copper worldwide. In 1989, he became Vice President of Technology of the International Copper Association, Ltd. (ICA). In 1995, he retired from ICA to establish his present consulting practice.

He has represented minerals technology in the National Research Council and was a member of Ronald Reagan's transition team in the field of minerals policy. He is a past president of the Mining and Metallurgical Society of America, a past member of the Board of Directors of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS), and a Distinguished Member of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME). He has been a member of the Mining Foundation of the Southwest since 1971, where he serves on the Board of Directors, and in 1999, served as Chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee. He is currently the chairman of the SciEnTeK-12 Foundation – an organization that encourages young people to enter careers in science and engineering.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

M 3.0 aftershock from Duncan earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-08-10 07:25
We experienced another aftershock to the June 28, M5.2 Duncan earthquake, with a magnitude 3.0 event at 9:39 pm local time Saturday night.   [Right, orange star marks epicenter.  Credit, USGS]

Smaller aftershocks continue to be recorded by the AZGS seismic network but not reported by the USGS.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

HudBay plans new drilling for Rosemont copper deposit

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2014-08-08 16:47
Officials of HudBay Minerals, new owner of Augusta Resources, which is the parent company to Rosemont Copper, were introduced today at the Arizona Mining Alliance monthly luncheon meeting in Tucson.    Over 200 attendees from the regional mining and business communities were present.

Rosemont Vice President Lance Newman announced they will be drilling 85,000 feet of new core holes, all on private land they own within the current open pit boundaries at the proposed mine site. It is in conjunction with an extensive geological and technical review of Rosemont's work to date.     Lance described how HudBay staff are immersed in an in-depth study of many years of data, reports, and studies generated for the project as they get up to speed on all the details of the operation.  He emphasized that HudBay is committed to development of the Rosemont mine as one of their centerpiece operations.   In my interpretation, the new drilling is intended to try to convert inferred resources and reserves to more demonstrated reserve category.    [Right, geologic cross section through proposed pit. Credit, Rosemont Copper]

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Grand Canyon is theme of national Geologic Map Day

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2014-08-07 15:40

The annual Earth Science Week celebration is October 12 – 18 this year, with Friday, October 17 being Geologic Map Day.  The theme this year is “Earth’s Connected Systems.”  

We just learned that the Geologic Map Day team chose the Grand Canyon as the poster for this year.    So, here is a sneak peak of that poster.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Four earthquakes east of Kingman

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-08-04 17:11
We have now recorded signals from four earthquakes last night, east of Kingman, ranging in magnitude from M2.0 to M3.1:

M 3.0 at 8:35 pm local timeM 2.0 at 9:55 pm local timeM 3.1 at 11:57 pm local timeM 2.7 at 12:19 am local timeThe epicenters are about 25-30 miles east of Kingman, and north of highway I-40 Dr. Jeri Young, AZGS geologist who runs our statewide seismic network, relocated the first event that the USGS reported and has added locations for the next two events using data from our Kingman and other stations. [Above.  Red circles mark epicenters] The USGS is currently showing the locations for only the first event.Neither the Sheriff or ADOT report any blasting in the area.  

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Multiple quakes near Kingman?

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-08-04 08:24

The USGS reports a M3.0 earthquake at 8:35 pm last night, about 22 miles (36 km) east of Kingman, Arizona.  [Right, orange star marks epicenter.  Red lines are active faults. Credit, USGS]

However, the Kingman seismic monitoring station run by AZGS as part of the Arizona Broadband Seismic Network, shows not only this event but two others [below - time is shown as UTC; local time is 7 hours earlier]

We are assessing whether these are all earthquakes or of some origin, including blasting.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

More aftershocks from Duncan M5.2 earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-08-02 10:07
Two small earthquakes hit the Arizona - New Mexico border area just after midnight this morning, likely aftershocks from the June 28 magnitude 5.2 Duncan earthquake.   A magnitude 2.9 event was followed about 40 minutes later by a magnitude quake.  [Right, orange circles mark epicenters. Credit, USGS]

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Small aftershock from Duncan quake

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-07-30 09:11
 A M=2.8 aftershock hit the area of June's M=5.2 Duncan earthquake in southeastern Arizona, just after midnight last night.   This is the largest event in over a week, although we continue to record many smaller shocks.  [Right, orange star marks epicenter.  Credit, USGS]

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Small quake west of Page

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-07-28 20:13

A small earthquake, magnitude 2.3, struck 24 miles west of Page, Arizona, at 4:46 pm on Sunday.   [Right, orange star marks epicenter.  Red line is an active fault. Credit, USGS]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Groupo Mexcio to buy rest of Silver Bell copper mine

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-07-26 10:36
Grupo Mexico, parent company to Asarco, is reported to be buying the 25% of the Silver Bell copper mine that it doesn't already own.   Mineweb refers to a Wall Street Journal story that says Grupo will pay about $120 million to buyout Mitsui & Co's share.  [Right, Google Earth view of Silver Bell mine complex]

The mine is west of Avra Valley, near Marana, northwest of Tucson.

Asarco provides the following information about the Silver Bell mine:
Location:23 miles west of Interstate 10 on Avra Valley Road.
Operations: The mine operates four open-pits (North Silver Bell, El Tiro, West Oxide and East Oxide). All copper in these pits will be extracted from the ore utilizing either of two hydrometallurgical processes: dump leaching or rubblization. Approximately 50% of the ore will be mined and hauled to dumps for leaching. The remaining 50% will be rubblized. Rubblization is the process where material is drilled, blasted, and then leached in place. Each month 1,800,000 tons of ore and waste are mined, and 700,000 tons of ore is rubblized. The four open-pits and other plant facilities are situated on 19,000 acres. Mining affected areas of the facility total 3,900 acres.
Copper-bearing solutions from the dump leach and rubble areas are collected and pumped to the solvent extraction plant where the copper in solution is concentrated over 30 times before being pumped to the tank house. In the tank house, the copper is recovered from solution using the electrowinning process and plated on stainless steel starter sheets as high-purity cathodes. The current cathode production rate is 67 tons per day. Cathode copper produced in the solvent extraction / electrowinning (SX/EW) operation is sold to producers of copper rod, tubing and wire.
Product: Electrowon cathode copper
December 31, 2012 Employment:
Total: 175 employees; 138 hourly / 37 salaried.

Production Statistics:
Copper in SX-EW Cathode:
45.9 million lbs. (2012)
46.8 million lbs. (2011)
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Request for info on Critical & Strategic Materials Supply Chain

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-07-26 10:00
Maeve Boland at the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) passed along this notice that the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy has issued a Request for Information on Critical and Strategic Materials Supply Chains, with a deadline for submissions of August 31, 2014.  [Photo credit, National Mining Association]
The RFI focuses mainly on the downstream side of things but Maeve offers that this would be a good opportunity to point out the importance of the upstream part of the supply chain, that we need geological research plus  information on materials flow through the full life cycle of materials , and that new materials and substitutes don’t work if we don’t have the raw materials to make them.
Full information is available at Please pass on the RFI to anyone who might be interested in responding.
The summary in the Federal Register states:
The U.S. economy's requirements for raw materials have and will change over time, especially with the introduction of new products and processing technologies. Furthermore, as the global economy grows, there are increasing concerns regarding the availability and access to the raw materials that will be necessary to sustain U.S. economic growth and advance other national policies. As the criticality of materials shifts over time, studying the early warning signs and the underlying forces of potential material supply disruption can inform proactive policy development for emerging critical materials. One of the roles of the Critical and Strategic Minerals Supply Chain Subcommittee (CSMSC Subcommittee) of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Sustainability is to develop a methodology for identifying critical materials and monitoring changes in criticality on an ongoing basis, providing “early warning” to policymakers and other stakeholders. The views of U.S. industry and other stakeholders are important to inform both an understanding of current conditions and the characterization of anticipated future demand for critical materials.
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