AZGS Web Posts

Proposal to re-open Kirkland tuff quarry to supply concrete additive stirs up local community

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-05-19 20:41
A plan to re-open the old Skull Valley tuff quarry near Kirkland in northern Arizona has galvanized the local community. [Right, AZGS geologist Brian Gootee provided these photos of the quarry area]   The Kirkland Mine Forum reports that 112 local residents showed up at a community meeting last Thursday with BLM and Yavapai County officials to discuss the quarry plans.   The Forum report on the meeting states:
The area of interest is an L-shaped island of BLM public land on which a kitty litter mine operated in the 1970’s and 80’s. That operation closed in 1985. The BLM Resource Management Plan and Environmental Impact Statement published in the 2000’s identified this area as open for mineral development. Mr Hawes explained that scattered isolated land parcels, such as this one, are not as important to protect, unless there is special habitat or cultural resources. This L shaped parcel was determined to not be important to keep in the public trust; thus it could be sold, traded, exchanged, and opened to mining.

The old kitty litter mine took coarse absorbent material; the leftovers are the same material, but much finer (“fines”). These “fines” exist in a large stockpile that looks like a sand dune. The Kirkland Mining Company has presented to the BLM an application and a Mining Plan of Operation to remove and sell the stockpile of “fines” for use in concrete. The application specifies between 42,000 and 48,000 tons of “fines” to be removed from a 2.6 acre area.

The BLM has not yet completed analysis of the application. No decision has been made, and no timeframe started, though it was noted that the mining company expects to start in about 2 months. This operation is small enough (less than 5 acres) to be eligible for a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) “Categorical Exclusion” ; however, the BLM, and specifically Field Manager Rem Hawes, can choose to deny the Categorical Exclusion, and instead order an Environmental Analysis before approving the plan. The Environmental Analysis would be performed by a team of BLM experts in coordination with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and include such considerations as air quality, water quantity and quality, soil, archeological resources, grazing, wildlife habitat, and community impact.
The report on the meeting concluded by saying that Rem Hawes, BLM Hassayampa Field Manager
said that as a result of this meeting he had decided to require an Environmental Analysis for the current application: “I am impressed with the turnout, and with amount and variety of input.”

The Kirkland Mining website is under construction.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Passing of Willlard Cox, long-time Arizona geologist

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-05-19 10:30

It is with great sadness that we learned of the recent death of well-known Arizona geologist, Willard Cox. 
A message from James Adu, Secretary of the Arizona Section of AIPG, noted that Will contributed greatly to that organization as well as the geologic community. He has been an AIPG member (CPG-00321) since1964 and participated in Section and National meetings on a regular basis. This photo was taken of Will, with his wife Nancy, at the 50th Anniversary AIPG National Meeting in Denver in 2013.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy; son, Matthew; daughter, Anne; son-in-law, Richard; granddaughter, Caitlyn; as well as many other extended family and friends located not only in Arizona and Montana, but throughout the country.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Mineral recovery from geothermal fluids

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-05-12 20:14

The US Dept. of Energy is seeking input on technological approaches to recovering minerals from geothermal fluids.  The Request for Information: Geothermal Approaches to Validate Mineral Recovery is posted below:

Geothermal fluids may be a key pathway for providing access to strategic minerals and rare earth elements, many of which are imported to accommodate a growing U.S. demand for these commodities for a range of applications. In fact, the USGS reports that the United States relies on other countries for more than half of the domestic consumption of 43 minerals and is fully 100% import-reliant for 19 of these. To explore the potential for a secure and affordable domestic supply, the Energy Department has announced a Request for Information (RFI)to bridge the gap between Research and Development (R&D) and commercial adoption of geothermal "mining" technologies. This RFI seeks input on developing pilot-scale extraction technologies at geothermal mineral recovery and power production sites in three specific areas.

The first category will explore opportunities to conduct extensive engineering validation testing of technologies and processes that can efficiently and cost-effectively capture, concentrate, and/or purify high-value materials contained in geothermal fluids. This effort will focus on broadening the assessment of potential approaches that could be adapted from extractive industries in oil and gas, mining, and processes that utilize chemicals or resins to remove, purify, or process a material. Food processing, waste processing, and chemical preparations are examples of industries that could have applicable technologies transferrable to geothermal mineral extraction.

The second category will study approaches that leverage existing methods and those being considered for commercial applications in the geothermal and mining industries. These could include combined drilling technologies, rock stimulation technologies such as those used in enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), and mineral extraction technologies as currently applied in solution mining.

A third area of study will broaden understanding about the existence and concentration of the high-value materials in U.S. geothermal fluids or low-temperature process streams from other operations, such as oil and gas production. Information sought in this category could be site-specific or assess domestic mineral resources in geothermal and other produced fluids on a national scale.

To see the full RFI, click here. This RFI is NOT a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA); therefore, EERE is not accepting applications at this time. Responses to the RFI are due by June 8, 2015.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Copper price rebound aids Arizona companies, mines

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2015-05-09 18:53
After copper dropped to its lowest price in five years at the end of 2014, it's not only less volatile, but even rising.   Copper inventories do not look to be excessive which bodes well for copper producers.  [Photo credit, Freeport McMoRan]

Prices of copper miners have also rebounded.  Phoenix-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, the world's largest primary copper company, is off recent lows, up $5 to $23 per share.
However, the loss of earnings while copper prices were down, particularly hurt high cost producers and has them taking precautionary measures.
   For example, Capstone which runs the Pinto Valley mine, is concerned enough to acquire price protection.  While protecting the downside, it also comes with a cap of $3.10 /lb, limiting future earnings if prices improve further.  Capstone is also pushing hard to lower costs.   The company's report on operations ending March 31, 2015,  says the mine produced 15,809 tonnes of copper in concentrates and cathode at a C1 cash cost1 of $1.93 per pound of payable copper produced.  Capstone says it completed "a reorganization to improve operational efficiency and accountability. As part of the redesign, approximately 40 salaried staff left the organization and a further 30 people changed roles, resulting in a reduction to the salaried workforce of 15% and restructuring costs of $2.2 million recognized in the quarter."

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Field trip guide to Oak Creek - Mormon Lake graben now online

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2015-05-09 18:30
The geologic field trip guide for the "Oak Creek-Mormon Lake Graben, North-Central Arizona by Paul Lindberg, 12 p. (May 2015)" is now posted online by the Arizona Geological Society

According to the announcement, this geologic field trip guide circumnavigates a loop of ~120 miles from Flagstaff to Sedona along Highway 89A and returns to Flagstaff along the Lake Mary Road.  [Right, Oak Creek-Mormon Lake graben.  The field trip starts in Flagstaff (black dot) and proceeds counter-clockwise around the graben perimeter.  Field trip stops are circled numbers]

"The 12 geologic stops focus on recent faulting and the encroachment of Basin and Range extensional structures on the Colorado Plateau. Each stop is detailed in the text, which is amply illustrated with photographs and colored geologic sketches.

The guide is made available to the public courtesy of Paul Lindberg and the Arizona Geological Society."

AGS acknowledged Paul Lindberg for a marvelous trip and field guide. Kevin Horstman prepared the digital copy for distribution and Cori Hoag placed it at the Arizona Geological Society online repository.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Minerals on eBay not from museum collection

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2015-05-07 18:46
A pallet of minerals for sale on eBay last fall was listed by the seller "This wonderful collection of minerals is the display from the Arizona Mineral Museum from Curator Lee Hammon," who it turns out was a curator at the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in the 1970s.

We were contacted by state investigators and connected them with museum officials around the state. No one knew anything about it at the time.  State Senator Don Shooter then called for an investigation by the Attorney General.   The AG found that the minerals were in fact just from the Hammon family personal collection and nothing was missing from any museum collections.   The Arizona Republic story describes the case in more detail.  The 1,400 pounds of specimens were reported sold to a couple in Michigan.

A list and photos of specimens are still posted online. One set of items in the batch is shown in the above photo.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Sail on, sweet ship - flooding on Oak Creek

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2015-05-07 11:25
The USGS posted a short video on YouTube showing flooding on Oak Creek on March 2, 2015.    
Note the trash dumpster floating by.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

New data model released for mineral brines

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2015-05-06 20:09
AZGS has officially released a new National Geothermal Data System (NGDS) interchange format (or Content Model) for “Mineral Recovery Brines” for a total of 36 data models relevant to geothermal energy exploration and development -
The US Dept. of Energy's Geothermal Technologies Office requires funded projects to similarly structure their data and upload it to the DOE Geothermal Data Repository node on the NGDS.
This latest content model includes an “Experimental Data” tab relevant to the mineral recovery data that DOE-funded projects are currently collecting as part of their strategic materials initiative.
This model includes fields describing our funds recipients recovery media, media formulation, elements evaluated, brine temperature, pH, removal efficiency, selectivity, chemical/thermal stability, etc.

AZGS managed the largest of the projects to build, populate, and deploy the data network.  We spun off a non-profit company last year, USGIN Foundation, Inc, to commercialize the technology and make the system financially sustainable.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Now, about those bodies in the Colorado River...

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2015-05-06 19:55
The report of human remains in the Colorado River in La Paz County brought out the sheriff's and fire departments.  Divers went down and found two fake skeletons propped up in lawn chairs on the river bottom, according to a story in the Parker Pioneer newspaper.  The divers grabbed video footage and have now posted it on YouTube.   There's an algae covered sign on one of them that the diver partly uncovers but only part of it is readable.   It looks like the setup was placed in the river sometime in 2014. 

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Revised locations of Oak Creek Canyon earthquake aftershocks

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-05-05 20:32
The locations of the two Oak Creek Canyon earthquake aftershocks are further north than reported by the USGS. AZGS geologist Jeri Young recalculated the positions using additional stations from the AZGS-run broadband seismic network.

The yellow pins mark the USGS locations with the 5-3-15 M=2.6 event and the 5-5-15 M-3.2 event.  The red circles mark the corrected locations. The large red circle marks the main shock.

The AZGS locations move both quakes, especially the M3.2 event, further north and place them along the Oak Creek Canyon fault zone, and closer to the epicenter of the main, M=4.7 shock from Nov. 2014.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Oak Creek Canyon - Kachina Village aftershocks

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-05-05 08:10
There have been two notable Flagstaff-Sedona area earthquakes since Sunday, both likely aftershocks from the November 30, 2014, M=4.7 earthquake that occurred in Oak Creek Canyon near the Kachina Village area between Flagstaff and Sedona.

A magnitude 3.2 event occurred at 2:04 a.m. local time today, 6 miles north of Sedona, 17 miles SSW of Flagstaff [Southern orange star in figure at right].

A magnitude 2.6 quake struck at 3:26 p.m. local time on Sunday, midway between Sedona and Flagstaff, and 3 miles south of Kachina Village. [Northern orange star.  Base map from USGS]

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Arizona county geologic maps posted online

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2015-05-02 20:40

In 1959 and 1960, our predecessor, the Arizona Bureau of Mines at the University of Arizona, published the Arizona County Geologic map series. Until now, these important maps were only available in printed form. We are going digital. 
We've published the entire series of county maps online, starting with Apache and Navajo counties. All maps are available free at the AZGS online document repository. The map scale is 1:375,000 and the contour interval is 500 feet. It is posted at

The Coconino County map is at Coconino County is situated in northern Arizona and encompasses, Grand Canyon, the San Francisco volcanic field, part of the Colorado Plateau, and the Arizona Strip.
Released to date:Apache and Navajo Counties (one map)Coconino CountyCochise CountyGila CountyGraham and Greenlee CountiesMaricopa CountyMohave CountyPima and Santa Cruz CountiesPinal CountyYavapai County
Yuma County

[updated from the AZGS announcement]

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

EarthCube All Hands Meeting organized by AZGS

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2015-05-02 19:58
AZGS is organizing the annual All Hands Meeting for the National Science Foundation's EarthCube program, to be held in Arlington VA, May 27-29.   EarthCube is testing the ability to build a community-led cyberinfrastructure for the geosciences.   AZGS is running the Test Enterprise Governance project which is in the midst of a year-long demonstration phase testing out community recommendations on coordination, collaboration, and communication.    AZGS also manages the EarthCube website,     

The AZGS project coordinators put together a brief video showcasing expectations for the upcoming meeting.  Each of the 25+ funded projects in the EarthCube program will be demonstrating their progress and in particular, showing how their work can be used by geoscientists to work more effectively in the digital environment.

AZGS will be reporting on the results of the Demonstration Governance phase and our recommendations for a longer-term strategy to facilitate community agreement on a system architecture. 
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Mars crater named after ASU's Ron Greeley

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2015-05-02 19:46

A large, ancient crater – nearly as wide as Arizona – now carries the name of Greeley Crater, in honor of Ron Greeley, the Mars science pioneer and longtime professor of planetary science at Arizona State University.

Ron was involved in almost every major solar system robotic mission flown since the late 1960s and advanced the study of planetary science at ASU.

The crater, which spans 284 miles, lies in Noachis Terra, the geologically oldest terrain on Mars. Although the crater's exact age is not known, the smaller impact craters superimposed on it plus its preservation state all suggest an age of at least 3.8 billion years.

It is centered just east of Mars' "Greenwich meridian" and is 37 degrees south of its equator.
Kenneth Tanaka, a planetary geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff and longtime colleague of Ron's, proposed the name, noting that it was the oldest, relatively well-preserved impact crater on Mars that remained still unnamed.
Tanaka announced the crater’s naming in his keynote talk at the 24th annual Arizona/NASA Undergraduate Research Symposium on April 17 in Tempe.

The International Astronomical Union, the world's authority for feature names on extraterrestrial bodies, formally approved the name on April 11. The union's rules require that a person must be deceased for at least three years before any commemoration can be made; Ron died in October 2011.

[this post was drawn from the announcement by ASU's  School of Earth & Space Exploration]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Duncan aftershock felt by residents

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2015-05-01 07:58
A magnitude 2.3 earthquake near Duncan Arizona, at 10:24 pm Monday night was likely another aftershock from last June's magnitude 5.3 quake.   What is interesting is that this small event was felt by local residents.  Typically, it takes a magnitude 3 or larger for it to be felt.

AZGS has a temporary seismometer deployed in the area, so we were able to come up with a more accurate location (red dot on photo map) than the one posted by the USGS using their regional network.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Geologic mapping projects funded

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2015-04-22 15:00
The U.S. Geological Survey’s National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) has  awarded the AZGS $170,940 to support geologic mapping near Oatman in Mohave County, Quartzsite in La Paz County, and northwest of Safford in Graham County.

Geologic mapping is one of the primary functions of the AZGS.  For the past 23 years, we have been aggressive participants in the USGS-run National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, successfully competing in the StateMap program component that matches state funds.

Since 1992, the AZGS has been awarded $3,943,335 in StateMap funds; because these funds are matched dollar for dollar by State funds, nearly $8 million has been invested in geologic mapping in Arizona over the past 23 years. The result: more than 161 geologic map products (nine of which are still pending publication), most at the 1:24,000 map scale, comprising about 8000 square miles (see the accompanying figure).

Senior geologist Dr. Jon Spencer, chief of the Mapping Section, and Dr. Phil Pearthree, chief of the Environmental Geology Section, jointly oversee a staff of five geologists that engage in mapping part to full time. Mapping priorities are set by the AZGS's Geologic Mapping Advisory Committee made up of representatives of state and federal agencies, universities, and the private sector.

Geologic map products are released in the fall of each year at the online Arizona Document Repository as free, PDF downloads.

For more information on geologic mapping in Arizona, see “Index of geologic maps available from the Arizona Geological Survey v 1.1” (2015).
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Mineral museum transfer bill vetoed

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2015-04-10 14:40
Governor Doug Ducey vetoed SB1200 today, which would have transferred the former Mining & Mineral Museum to the AZGS to be converted into a Mining, Mineral, and Natural Resources Education Museum.    In his letter to Senate President Andy Biggs, Gov. Ducey wrote:

"Today I vetoed Senate Bill 1200.  Although I commend the work of the bill's sponsor, we must evaluate the use of state buildings holistically, rather than individually.  At this point, there is not a plan or organizational structure in place to ensure the successful transition of the mining and mineral museum. While I appreciate the desire to preserve and celebrate the unique characteristics of Arizona's past, it would be premature to sign this legislation at this time."

The museum has been closed since 2011, when it was slated to become the Centennial Museum, but private funds were never raised to make the conversion.  [Photo credit,]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

County geologic maps going online

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2015-04-05 13:03
In 1959 and 1960, our predecessor, The Arizona Bureau of Mines - University of Arizona, published the popular Arizona county geologic map series. Until now, these important maps were only available in printed form; we are going digital.

Over the next two weeks, we'll publish the entire series of county maps online, starting with the geologic map of Apache and Navajo counties. All maps will be available free at the AZGS online document repository. The map scale is 1:375,000 and the contour interval is 500 feet. [Right, Coconino County Geologic Map]

Follow our Facebook and twitter feeds for posts announcing the release of individual maps.
Released to date:
The entire suite will reside at the Arizona Geological Survey Map Series collection at our AZGS Online Document Repository.

Coming soon:
  • Gila County
  • Graham and Greenlee Counties
  • Maricopa County
  • Mohave County
  • Pima and Santa Cruz Counties
  • Pinal County
  • Yavapai County
  • Yuma County (La Paz County) 
[post modified from AZGS announcement]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Museum transfer approved by legislature

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2015-04-02 10:55
The Arizona Senate approved SB1200 this morning by a vote of 25-3 and transmitted it to the Governor.  The bill transfers the former mining and mineral museum from the Arizona Historical Society to AZGS to be re-opened as the "Mining, Mineral, and Natural Resources Education Museum."   It was closed in 2011 to be converted to the Arizona Experience centennial museum but the private funds were not forthcoming to finance it.   [Photo credit,]

The museum was formerly operated by the Arizona Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources, which merged with AZGS in 2011.

The legislation also transfers the budget for the rent and a curator from AHS to AZGS.   AZGS will be responsible for finding additional funds for developing exhibits and education programs, setting up a gift shop to fund operations, hiring staff, and operations costs.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts
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