AZGS Web Posts

Temporary seismic stations capturing more aftershocks to Duncan earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-07-09 08:27
AZGS staff installed three more temporary seismometers yesterday, in the area around the M5.3 Duncan earthquake in eastern Arizona.  This brings the number of temporary stations to five.   AZGS geologists Jeri Young and Mike Conway observed half a dozen micro-quakes roll across the area just during lunch while they were installing the stations.     Mike posted details and photos at our Facebook page.  [Right, Jeri Young setting up temporary station]

At 1:15 a.m. this morning the area experienced a M3.6 aftershock which should have been captured by the new stations.     [Left, orange star marks aftershock epicenter.  Credit, USGS]

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Freeport may sell off Chile mine to focus on US investments

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-07-07 13:56

Phoenix-based Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold is  reportedly considering selling its huge Candelaria copper mine in Chile to help pay down corporate debt and refocus its efforts in the US, according to a story in the Wall Street Journal.   They say that Freeport may be negotiating with Aaron Regent, CEO of Canadian mining investment firm Magris Resources.      Interestingly, the WSJ had previously reported that Magris had looked at acquiring Augusta Resources, parent of  Rosemont Copper, during its takeover battle with HudBay Minerals.  [Right, Candelaria mine. Credit, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold]

Freeport CEO Richard Adkerson was noted to have said previously the company wants to put emphasis on exploration in the US because of more consistent environmental and labor regulations.  That fits with our perception that Freeport is increasing exploration in Arizona.

Candelaria, which is 80% Freeport and 20% Sumitomo owned, mined 370 million pounds of copper and 87,000 ounces of gold last year.    Freeport describes Candelaria as "an iron oxide, copper and gold deposit" with development of "an open-pit copper mine and a 6,000 metric ton-per-day (mtd) underground copper mine, which is mined by sublevel stoping."
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Aftershocks continue from Duncan M5.3 earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-07-06 08:57
Two aftershocks with magnitudes over 3.0 hit the Duncan area on Saturday, a week after the 5.3 main shock occurred.

A magnitude 3.2 event hit at 12:30 pm, followed by a magnitude 3.5 shock at 9:24 pm.   [Right, the top orange circle is the M3.2 aftershock, the leftmost orange circle is the M3.5 event.   Credit, USGS]    The USGS only reports events greater than magnitude 3.0.   AZGS is identifying many more aftershocks in the 1.0 -3.0 range.

AZGS is working with the PASSCAL (Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere Instrument Center) instrument facility in Socorro, NM, to deploy a temporary network of 6 seismometers in the epicentral area.   In addition to better detection and location of continuing aftershocks, the information will help correct the locations of the 100+ aftershocks already recorded.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

BLM raises fees on mining claims and sites by 10%; Arizona claim numbers declining

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-07-05 15:55
The US Bureau of Land Management increased its fees on unpatented mining claims, mill sites and tunnel sites on federal public lands by about 10%, effective June 30, 2014, according to a story on

The number of Federal Mining Claims reported in Arizona today is 43,490, according to AZGS Economic Geologist Nyal Niemuth.  There has been a big drop in lode claims from 40,018 to 34,632 since Jan 17, the last time we queried the total.  The total number then was 49,991. Nyal thinks the drop is a result of uranium claims on the Colorado Plateau being dropped.  The 10 year trend is shown in the figure above.

The BLM website describes recording fees for new claims:Location Fee has increased from $34 to $37. 

All Mining Claims located on or after September 1, 2014, will cost a total of $212:
•    $20 Processing Fee (filing fee)
•    $37 Location Fee
•    $155 Maintenance Fee (Placer claims over 20 acres must pay an additional $155
• For each 20 acres or portion thereof.)

All monies are due at the time of filing. A claim will not be accepted unless the payment of the maintenance and locations fees is submitted. 

The initial $155 maintenance fee is due for the assessment year in which the claim is located (not recorded). This fee is not prorated.  Mining claim holders must now pay the new location and maintenance fees for any mining claim or site located on or after September 1, 2014, according to the Federal Register. Mining claimants must also pay the new maintenance fee for existing mining claims and sites to maintain those claims and site, beginning with the 2015 assessment year.  However, all maintenance fees must be paid in advance for the upcoming 2015 assessment year.

All Federal mining claims for locatable minerals are filed with BLM, part of Dept of Interior. The Forest Service (Dept. of Agriculture) generally does not own the minerals under the surface it manages.

By agreement BLM allows Forest Service to manage the surface impacts of mining within Forest Service areas. Thus, the Forest Service approves plans of operations, etc. for mining claims.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

USGS Historical Topo Map Explorer online

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2014-07-04 17:02
The USGS has an Historical Topographic Map Explorer at 

that allows you to view topographical maps at all scales that were ever produced by the agency, going back to the 1880s.   I pulled up an 1887 map of the Prescott area in the screen shot above.   The sliding bar at the bottom of the search box lets you see what scale maps were generated in what year.   Maps are available for the entire country.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Copper provides the blue color in fireworks

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2014-07-04 16:59
Minerals provide the colors in our fireworks, with copper the source of blue, according to a short informational item posted by the USGS describing what minerals produce other colors, at

Happy 4th of July!

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Haboob batters Phoenix

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2014-07-04 12:31
This short video shows the dust storm that hit the Phoenix valley on Thursday night.    The Arizona Republic reports the dust storm and following rain storm knocked out power to 25,000 customers in the valley.

var p = new anv_pl_def();p.loadVideoWithKey("eyJtIjoiU1BTIiwicCI6IjEwMDAwMTEiLCJ2IjoiZXhwcmVzc18xNDA0NTAyMTU2MzgwIn0=");
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Thousands of Arizona mining maps and files added to online repository

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2014-07-04 09:08

Last month, the Arizona Geological Survey completed another milestone in the digitization of historic mining records from the former Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources. After months of cataloging and geolocating the map collection, we have finally released 5,000 new files (mostly maps) at The maps reflect the changing nature of mining and exploration in Arizona during the 20th century. Most maps from the early to mid century are of two common varieties. There are plan maps showing mining claims along with geology and surface features. A large number are longitudinal sections of mines underground workings often providing sample locations and associate widths and metallic grades. Later 20th century maps are commonly focused on surface exploration efforts covering large areas. They tend to be maps of land ownership, bedrock geology, alteration, geochemistry and geophysical investigations.   [Right, thumbnail image of map locations available online]
Maps can be searched specifically as a document type from the Search page or found as part of a mine’s complete records when searching on the Map page.
Today, we released more than 800 Arizona records from a donated collection, the James Doyle Sell mining collection. James Sell was a native of Arizona, born in Casa Grande in 1930.  He served the U.S. Army as a radio operator in the Korean War. He was awarded the Korean Service Medal and two Bronze Star Medals. On his return, he studied at the Colorado School of Mines and graduated in 1955. He earned his master's degree from the University of Arizona. He was the Southwest Exploration Manager for ASARCO and retired after 32 years. Sell was a member of the Arizona Geological Society and the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.
His collection consists of over 1,800 folders containing geologic reports and mineral exploration data from around the world, but primarily from Arizona and other states in the Southwest. Currently, only those files related to Arizona are online. For a listing of his other files, see

Post by Casey Brown, AZGS Mining Data Project Manager 
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

M3.9 aftershock to Duncan earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2014-07-03 20:52
A magnitude 3.9 earthquake that hit just before 4 p.m. today is the largest aftershock so far following Saturday's M5.3 Duncan earthquake near the New Mexico border.   [Right, the main shock and all aftershocks greater than magnitude 3.0,  including the latest event in orange.  Credit, USGS]    As of 7:30 p.m. tonight, 13 people reported having felt this latest aftershock.

We expect aftershocks to continue for weeks and possibly months. 

[note: the initial post had a typo saying the event occurred just before 2 p.m.]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Time lapse video of 2014 Arizona earthquakes

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-07-02 08:19
This 20-second time lapse video shows the distribution and relative magnitude of earthquakes in Arizona from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2014. Saturday night's magnitude 5.2 earthquake on the Arizona-New Mexico border stands out. It's so large that it blocks out the 110+ aftershocks that have been detected so far.

Thanks to Arizona Geological Survey Jeri Young for compiling earthquake data and to Jordan Matti for building the video with Microsoft Research's Layerscape software.

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Get your geek on - GeoSciML working group in Tucson developing digital data structures

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2014-07-01 21:20

Geoscience researchers from a dozen countries have been meeting at the Lodge on the Desert in Tucson since Sunday, working on the latest developments for the geoscience markup language, GeoSciML.   We're giving them the special Arizona welcome with 108F temperatures and a Saturday night earthquake of magnitude 5.3 right after they settled into the hotel.

GeoSciML has been adopted by a growing number of countries and international data systems "to provide a single, open source, globally agreed data structure that is used to deliver digital geological data over the internet."   

AZGS is hosting the meeting, represented by Geoinformatics Section Chief, Dr. Steve Richard who has been a member of the GeoSciML working group since its organization in 2003.    The group formed under the auspices of the International Union of Geological Sciences, Commission for the Management and Application of Geoscience Information (CGI).

The CGI website notes that "Users of geoscience maps and data know that geological features have no respect for national or provincial borders. Inevitably users of geoscience data will need to source data from more than one data provider. Receiving data in a number of local data formats is recognised as a major impediment to efficient and effective use of data."

The AZGS-led  US Geoscience Information Network (USGIN) is using GeoSciML-Portrayal and GeoSciML to share geological data between government agencies, educational and other organizations, with its biggest application being the National Geothermal Data System.

The group is also working on the use of GeoSciML web feature services and GeoSciML-Portrayal web map services for the 117-nation OneGeology project.


Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Additional seismometer deployed at Duncan earthquake site

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2014-07-01 13:29
We have deployed a temporary seismometer on the a private ranch near Duncan to better detect and locate small aftershocks from Saturday's M5.3 earthquake.

The seismometer is on loan to AZGS and volunteers delivered and installed it.  Thanks also to the landowner for letting us set it up.

Dr. Jeri Young, who runs the Arizona Broadband Seismic Network that operates in conjunction with other stations around the state, is searching the records and calculating accurate locations for the more than 110 aftershocks recorded so far.  Our nearest permanent stations are more than 100 miles from the Duncan epicenter, so the new station should help us detect many more small events and locate them more accurately than we can with the network.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Over 110 aftershocks from M5.3 Duncan earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2014-07-01 11:44
We have recorded more than 110 aftershocks since Saturday night's M5.3 earthquake near Duncan in southeastern Arizona.  Dr. Jeri Young, who manages the Arizona Integrated Seismic Network at AZSG, says all but five are below magnitude 3.    The USGS interactive map shows events larger than 3.0  [right].    It is unlikely that any of the quakes smaller than M3 would be felt even by people near the epicenter.

Jeri says the network detected ~70 aftershocks in the 24 hours after the main shock, 36-38 in the second 24 hours, and 3 more since then.  We expect aftershocks to continue to occur for weeks and possibly months.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

M3.5 aftershock to Duncan earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2014-07-01 07:22
There was an additional >M3 aftershock on Sunday morning that was not in my previous posts (see orange dot at right).  The main M5.3 event was at about 10 pm on Saturday.

Note that we have upped the magnitude to 5.3 from the initial 5.2.    I'll provide details on that later.

AZGS has recorded a larger number of small aftershocks on our statewide seismic network that we are determining locations for.
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Report on 1887 Sonora earthquake now online

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-06-30 07:55

Saturday night's M5.2 Duncan earthquake triggered renewed interest in the M7.2 Sonora earthquake that shook much of the same region but with roughly 1,000 times as much energy. 
In response, Dubois and Smith’s “The 1887 Earthquake in San Bernardino Valley, Sonora: Historic Accounts and Intensity Patterns in Arizona” is now online at the AZGS document repository for reading or download -
The direct link is

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AZGS news release on Duncan M5.2 earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-29 19:31
AZGS issued the following news release this afternoon:
A magnitude (M) 5.2 earthquake struck rural southeastern Arizona near Duncan, Arizona, on the New Mexico border just before 10 p.m. Saturday night. The U.S. Geological Survey’s online tool “Did you feel it” received more than 2,300 “felt” responses, some from as far west as Phoenix and as far east as Alamogordo, New Mexico. Residents near Duncan and surrounding communities reported moderate shaking. There are no reports of injuries or significant damages.
Preliminary analysis of earthquake data from the Arizona Integrated Seismic Network operated by the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) indicates about a dozen earthquake events, including a probable foreshock of approximately 3.0M at 5:57 p.m. on June 28. The main 5.2M event was followed by at least 9 aftershocks, four of magnitude 3.0 or greater (attached map). The first aftershock, a 3.5M event occurred at 10:22 p.m. on June 28, a 3.4M aftershock occurred at 1:29 a.m. on June 29th, and a third 3.6M at 7:33 a.m. on June 29th. The latest measurable event, 3.3M occurred at 8:40 a.m. on June 29th. Many smaller aftershocks undoubtedly occurred but have not been detectable by our seismometers. The earthquakes make a NW-SE trend extending for about 5 miles. All events were shallow, occurring less than 6-miles deep. Historical seismicity in this area, including the recent events, as well as the mapped Quaternary faults, can be viewed at the online interactive Natural Hazards in Arizona Viewer on the AZGS website [].

The largest historical earthquake in the southeastern Arizona – southwestern New Mexico – northern Mexico region was the M~ 7.5M event in May 1887 on the Pitaycachi fault of northern Sonora, Mexico, about 25 miles south of Douglas, Arizona. This is considered the largest earthquake likely to occur in this region. A  M5.5 earthquake occurred on August 17, 1938, near Buckhorn New Mexico, and M4.5 events occurred soon after in the Duncan and Clifton areas. In May 2010 and October 2012, small earthquake swarms, with earthquake events ranging from M2.0 to M4.1, occurred about 45 miles north-northeast of Duncan, in the Morenci-Clifton area of northern Greenlee County. 
According to US Geological Survey probability models, the likelihood of a substantial M5.0+ earthquake within 31 miles of Clifton-Morenci area over the next 25 years is ~20%.

It is likely that small magnitude aftershocks will continue in the Duncan area for days or weeks. Most will probably go unfelt.  A larger magnitude event could still occur.  In the event of severe ground shaking, residents are advised to “Drop, Cover and Hold on”.
Online Resources.  The Arizona Geological Survey hosts a number of online resources relevant to earthquakes and earthquake hazards in Arizona:·         Natural Hazards in Arizona  Active Faults | Earthquake Epicenters themes·         Earthquakes in Arizona 1852-2011 – Time lapse video showing locations and magnitudes of earthquake events in Arizona. Length: 90 seconds.·         Arizona is Earthquake Country – Forty-four page primer on earthquakes, earthquake hazards and mitigation in Arizona. ·         Great Arizona ShakeOut – Online earthquake preparedness information and drill.·         AzEIN – Earthquake Preparedness page from Arizona Emergency Information Network
Arizona Geological Survey social media information outlets:Arizona Geology Blog                              http://arizonageology.blogspot.comArizona Geological Survey Facebook Geological Survey Twitter
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Historical magnitude 5-6 earthquakes in Arizona

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-29 13:59
A lot of Arizona residents were surprised by last night's M5.2 earthquake, saying that Arizona doesn't have such things.

But we record a couple of hundred events around the state every year, although quakes this big are relatively rare.

AZGS geologists Mike Conway and Jeri Young provided this graphic showing all historical earthquakes in the M = 5-6 range [right], using the AZGS online Hazards Viewer -

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Seismic waveforms from Duncan M5.2 earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-29 13:49
The waveforms from last night's M5.2 Duncan earthquake have been compiled by AZGS seismologist, Dr. Jeri Young.    AZGS runs the 7-station Arizona Broadband Seismic Network which provides statewide monitoring and links to stations run by USGS and Northern Arizona University.

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How to report what you felt from the M5.2 earthquake

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-29 11:29

Nearly 2200 people have logged onto the USGS site to describe how much shaking they experienced from last night's magnitude 5.2 earthquake in eastern Arizona.      If you felt it, we encourage you to share your experience at

This information provides valuable scientific data that we use to better understand how the shock waves travel across the region and how local geologic conditions may dampen or enhance ground shaking.  This is critical in helping better design buildings and critical infrastructure.   [Right, waveform of last nights earthquake from seismometer station X16A, part of the AZGS-managed Arizona Broadband Seismic Network.  Credit, Dr. Jeri Young, AZGS]

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Strong earthquake - magnitude 5.2 - hits eastern Arizona

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-29 08:12
A magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck a remote area of southeastern Arizona near the New Mexico border just before 10 p.m. Saturday night.  More than 2,000 reports of it being felt have been filed with the USGS, coming from all over southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico [below].  Ground shaking is reported as strong near the epicenter, and moderate to light or very light further away.  [Right, orange circles mark epicenters of main shock and aftershocks.  The light blue circle is the newest event. Credit, USGS]

Two aftershocks of magnitude 3.5 and 3.4 occurred within a couple of hours of the big shock and a 3.6 event occurred while I was writing this post Sunday morning. More aftershocks can be expected.

The epicenter is about 31 miles northwest of Lordsburg, 52 miles west-southwest of Silver City, and 89 miles northeast of Douglas.

AZGS geologists are examining our records for historical earthquakes in the region and any known active faults.  We'll share that information as it becomes available.

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