AZGS Web Posts

Historical Society seeks curator with geology expertise for Tempe museum

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2015-08-20 17:34

The Arizona Historical Society is seeking to fill a Museum Curator 2 posting for the Natural History Collection in Tempe.  The posting is listed in the official website for the State of Arizona government jobs.  Anyone interested in viewing/applying can go to:

This is the position formerly held by Dr. Madison Barkley, who oversaw the collections from the former Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum.   Some of the minerals are on display at the Tempe museum.  The former museum building in Phoenix was closed for renovations and is maintenance mode.   The Legislature passed a bill in the last session to transfer the building, museum authorization, and the curator position to AZGS to reopen it as the Arizona Mining, Mineral, and Natural History Education Museum, but it was vetoed by the governor.

AHS reports that "In 2010 the collection of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum, previously maintained by the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (ADMMR), was transferred to the Arizona Historical Society (Arizona Revised Statutes §41-827). The collection now makes up the majority of the Arizona Historical Society Natural History Collection.

The Natural History Collection is a permanent collection with materials pertaining to the natural history of Arizona and the mining industry in Arizona. The Collection also includes mining and mineral related books, journals, magazines, and historical documents related to the history of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum."   [right, photo of pyrite specimen in AHS collection. Credit, AHS]

Description of the job:

The Arizona Historical Society seeks a Museum Curator 2 with geological expertise to manage its mineral collections and develop associated educational programming.  This position requires flexibility with work hours and days/nights, weekends, and holidays.  The position also requires day trips and some overnight stays within and outside of Maricopa County.  
The successful candidate for this position will possess a Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology or a related field.  One year of experience equivalent to curator responsibilities is preferred.  In addition, you should demonstrate the following: 
  • Familiarity with the discipline of geology
  • Specialized knowledge of minerals/mineralogy
  • Ability to develop educational and public programming
  • Understanding of the principles of collections management
  • Ability to work in teams
  • Skill in written and oral communication

 Salary range is $33,435 - $59,812
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Hanson Scott Award for Outstanding Leadership

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2015-08-16 20:47
I was surprised and honored to receive the Hanson Scott Award for Outstanding Leadership from the Western Regional Partnership at its annual Principals' Meeting in Reno last week.

The award is named for former Brigadier General Hanson Scott who served as the first chair of WRP and was key to the organizations initial development and success.

WRP is supported by the Dept. of Defense to promote collaborative framework for senior-policy level Federal, State and Tribal leadership to identify common goals and emerging issues in the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah (and just recently Colorado) and to develop solutions that support WRP Partners and protect natural resources, while promoting sustainability, homeland security and military readiness.    The governors' offices in the 5 states are represented along with senior staff from more than 20 federal agencies.  

The award in my view is for all of AZGS to recognize the work we've done since the start of the group in developing and supporting GIS services, organizing and hosting meetings, contributing to committees and special work groups, and providing support for WRP activities.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Tying the cost of flood insurance to the level of risk

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-08-11 13:22

Two new reports from the National Research Council look at the issue of tying the cost of flood insurance to the level of risk associated with the structures being insured.

It turns out about 1/5 of the 5.5 million policies issued under the National Flood Insurance Program are below the base flood elevation and thus have higher risks.  "Tying Flood Insurance to Flood Risk for Low-Lying Structures in the Floodplains studies the pricing of negatively elevated structures in the NFIP. This report review current NFIP methods for calculating risk-based premiums for these structures, including risk analysis, flood maps, and engineering data. The report then evaluates alternative approaches for calculating risk-based premiums and discusses engineering hydrologic and property assessment data needs to implement full risk-based premiums. The findings and conclusions of this report will help to improve the accuracy and precision of loss estimates for negatively elevated structures, which in turn will increase the credibility, fairness, and transparency of premiums for policyholders."

The second report addresses the consequences of Congressional action in 2012 that requires FEMA to move the NFIP t"oward an insurance program with NFIP risk-based premiums that better reflected expected losses from floods at insured properties."   "Constituents from multiple communities expressed concerns about the elimination of lower rate classes, arguing that it created a financial burden on policy holders."

The report describes alternatives for determining when the premium increases resulting from the 2012 law would make flood insurance unaffordable.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Bio-mediated geotechnics center established at ASU

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-08-11 08:02
Arizona State University says they were awarded its second Engineering Research Center from the National Science Foundation, making it one of only two universities in the nation to lead two of the prestigious centers.

NSF announced that ASU will lead the $18.5 million Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG), which will pioneer advances to solve some of the world’s biggest environmental and infrastructure development problems. For example, the center will aim to make soil stronger so that building foundations can better withstand earthquakes.

CBBG’s researchers will focus on “nature-compatible” approaches to boosting the resiliency of civil infrastructure, improving the effectiveness of environmental protection and ecological restoration methods, and developing ways to make infrastructure construction and natural resource development operations more sustainable.

The center’s university partners are the Georgia Institute of Technology, New Mexico State University and the University of California, Davis. Engineers and scientists at those institutions will collaborate with ASU researchers to investigate the use of natural underground biological processes for engineering soil in ways that reduce construction costs while mitigating natural hazards and environmental degradation.

CBBG’s director is ASU Regents’ Professor Edward Kavazanjian. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Ira A. Fulton Professor of Geotechnical Engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Much of CBBG’s work will concentrate on developing bio-based methods of strengthening soils as a way to produce more solid ground for building foundations and to prevent erosion that threatens human health, the environment and infrastructure systems.

Researchers, for instance, will explore the use of microbial organisms to help stabilize soils. Certain kinds of microbes produce an enzyme that can cause calcium carbonate to precipitate in porous soils, thereby hardening the ground, making it more resistant to erosion, and providing a stronger foundation for construction.

Calcium carbonate precipitation can also be used in lieu of Portland cement to stabilize pavement subgrades and to create “bio-bricks,” soil particles that are bound together into building blocks for infrastructure construction.

Other efforts will involve attempting to figure out how to equal the performance of trees in their natural ability to stabilize soil against erosion and to provide support against wind and other loads through their root systems.

“The best man-made soil-reinforcing elements and foundation systems we have developed are not as efficient as trees at stabilizing soil. We want to be able to design soil-reinforcement and foundation systems that work like tree root systems,” Kavazanjian said.

Researchers will also seek to devise technologies that match some of the subterranean earth-moving and stabilization capabilities of burrowing insects and small mammals.

“Ants are a hundred times more energy-efficient at tunneling than our current technology. They excavate very carefully and their tunnels almost never collapse,” Kavazanjian said. “If we could do what ants can do, we could make underground mining much safer.”

Similarly, he said, if engineers could design a probe with sensor technology and guidance systems that effectively digs and tunnels through soil like a mole, it would significantly improve subsurface exploration and characterization.

Such an accomplishment would lead to construction of stronger and safer roadways, bridges, dams, power plants, pipelines and buildings, and more efficient and effective oil-drilling and mining operations.

“We want to reproduce the beneficial effects that biological and biogeochemical processes can achieve, accelerate them, and then employ them on larger scales,” he said.

Progress in biogeotechnical technologies and engineering could also lead to significant improvements in methods of cleaning up environmental contaminants and restoring land denuded by erosion or industrial-scale resource extraction.

Advances could also produce better ways to fortify structures and landscapes against the destructive forces of earthquakes, including methods for combating the soil liquefaction that results from strong earthquakes and can severely destabilize large swaths of land.

Read more about the center on the CBBG website at
Watch video about the CBBG at
Read more about the CBBG leadership team and faculty members will have research roles at

[this post js taken from materials provided by ASU]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Gold King mine waste water heading to Lake Powell

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-08-11 07:19
Officials in New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona are analyzing the potential impacts of 3 million gallons of waste water from the  abandoned Gold King mine in Colorado [right, credit US EPA], as it moves down the Los Animas River to the San Juan River and eventually to the Colorado River and Lake Powell.    EPA raised the estimate of water released from an earlier figure of 1 million gallons -  EPA was responsible for allowing the waste water to spill into the river on August 5.  Arizona draws water from Lake Powell for the Central Arizona Project which supplies water to the Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas.

The Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality issued the following statement:

Any potential release that could threaten Arizona’s water supplies is cause for concern. At present, available information suggests that the Gold King Mine spill has not affected Arizona’s surface, ground or drinking water. EPA preliminary data collected within 24 hours of the spill showed that contaminant levels were 50 percent lower after moving about 10 miles downstream of the release site – Lake Powell is located another 250 miles further downstream.

ADEQ is taking the following steps to address potential future impacts, should they occur, to Arizona waters:
  • We are sending a team of water quality monitoring professionals to conduct baseline sampling upstream and downstream of the Glenn Canyon Dam, which creates Lake Powell. 
  • We will collect additional samples, as appropriate.We are closely examining facts and actions being undertaken by involved local and state agencies (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concerning this release. 
  • We are participating on daily calls to coordinate and stay informed with these agencies.Based on our continuing monitoring and analysis of the situation, we will be in a position to further advise Arizonans and water systems.  
We at AZGS are working with our sister agencies in water, environment, and health to assess the situation and make recommendations.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Boulders and mud close US89A north of Grand Canyon

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2015-08-10 08:02

The Arizona Dept. of Transportation warned drivers that US 89A is closed Monday morning north of the Grand Canyon as crews work to remove mud and boulders from the road following heavy rain on Sunday. [photo credit, AZ Dept of Public Safety]

The closure is in place from five miles west of Marble Canyon (milepost 545) to Jacob Lake (milepost 579). There is no estimated time for when the road will reopen, but the closure is expected to remain in place until at least late Monday morning.    The Arizona [Phoenix] Republic posted this video from Avondal resident Tricia Leonhardt showing the flood waters actually crossing the highway and the aftermath.

Jacob Lake is located at the junction of US 89A and US 67, the route to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

ADOT crews from Page, Fredonia and Gray Mountain are working to reopen US 89A [bottom right, photo credit, ADOT]

For updated information on the closure, please visit the ADOT Travel Information Site, or follow us on Twitter, @ArizonaDOT.
[excerpted from the ADOT announcement]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Bouldgers and mud close US891A north of Grand Canyon

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2015-08-10 08:02

The Arizona Dept. of Transportation warned drivers that US 89A is closed Monday morning north of the Grand Canyon as crews work to remove mud and boulders from the road following heavy rain on Sunday. [photo credit, AZ Dept of Public Safety]

The closure is in place from five miles west of Marble Canyon (milepost 545) to Jacob Lake (milepost 579). There is no estimated time for when the road will reopen, but the closure is expected to remain in place until at least late Monday morning.    The Arizona [Phoenix] Republic posted this video from Avondal resident Tricia Leonhardt showing the flood waters actually crossing the highway and the aftermath.

Jacob Lake is located at the junction of US 89A and US 67, the route to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

ADOT crews from Page, Fredonia and Gray Mountain are working to reopen US 89A [bottom right, photo credit, ADOT]

For updated information on the closure, please visit the ADOT Travel Information Site, or follow us on Twitter, @ArizonaDOT.
[excerpted from the ADOT announcement]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Flood warning for Havasu Canyon campgrounds

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2015-08-07 15:16
The National Weather Service is warning that heavy rains are expected to cause flooding on Havasu Creek and flood campsites and foot bridges.

This time of year there can be hundreds of campers in the campgrounds in the scenic canyon on the Havasu Reservation just south of the Grand Canyon.  In 2008 (corrected 8-10-15, from 2006), flash floods forced ~400 campers to flee to high ground in the middle of the night.

Flooding in 2010 again washed out footbridges and destroyed campgrounds. [Right, 2010 flood damage. Photo by Brian Gootee, AZGS]

The NWS forecast says:



Categories: AZGS Web Posts

New Director at Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2015-08-07 14:58

Henry Darwin, Director of the Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality, is taking the job as Chief of Operations for Gov. Doug Ducey, replacing Ted Vogt, who is returning to the private sector.

ADEQ Deputy Director Misael Cabrera [right, my photo, 2013] will take over as Director at the end of August.

The Governor's Office issued this statement today:

“Mr. Darwin has a strong record of success in operations and driving outcomes,” Governor Ducey said. “His leadership will be vital as we work every day to deliver results to the people of Arizona. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality will be in great hands under the leadership of Mr. Cabrera, who brings both private and public sector experience to this critical role.”
The staffing transitions will take place by the end of August.

About Henry Darwin: Mr. Darwin was appointed ADEQ Director in February 2011 and since then has led the agency’s transformation.  Highlights of the transformation include: reducing permitting timeframes for the most complex environmental permits by over 60%; doubling the number of State-led underground storage tank clean-ups; reducing vehicle emissions inspections fees by 25% (Maricopa County); helping customers return to compliance nearly 50% faster; and implementing over 150 employee-initiated improvement projects.  He has done so with a budget and staffing that are 30% less than pre-recession levels.

Mr. Darwin has served the State of Arizona for 18 years, previously holding a variety of positions including ADEQ's Deputy Director and Administrative Counsel.  A Yuma native, Mr. Darwin has a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of Arizona and a Juris Doctorate from Lewis & Clark College's Northwestern School of Law.  He is a licensed attorney in Arizona.

About Misael Cabrera: Mr. Cabrera was selected as ADEQ's Deputy Director in November 2011. A registered professional engineer, Mr. Cabrera has over two decades of experience in the environmental field. His background includes: business (profit and loss) and organizational leadership, regulatory negotiations, contract management, site characterization and remediation, permitting, design and construction management.

Before joining ADEQ, Mr. Cabrera served in a variety of leadership roles in private sector engineering and environmental consulting firms. He served as a senior client leader Haley & Aldrich's Industrial Environmental practice in Phoenix. He led the environmental business unit for AMEC Earth & Environmental and managed the environmental business group for CH2MHILL in Tempe.

Mr. Cabrera has lived in Arizona since 1984 and received his Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering from the University of Arizona.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

More than a year later, aftershocks continue in the Duncan area

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-08-04 09:24
A magnitude 3.2 earthquake was felt across eastern Arizona and western New Mexico at about 9:18 pm local time last night.   The quake occurred in the same general area near the town of Duncan that was hit by a magnitude 5.2 earthquake on June 28, 2015.  This appears to be another aftershock to that larger event.   [Right, orange star marks epicenter of quake. Credit, USGS]

The 2014 quake was the largest in the region in over 35 years.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Inaugural newsletter on Military Geosciences

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2015-08-02 13:16

The International Association for Military Geosciences has released its inaugural newsletter.  In the announcement I received, associations Secretary, Drew Craig, says, "The International Association for Military Geosciences is a not-for-profit organization, administered by its members and represented by a Coordinating Committee. Membership in the Association is free and open to researchers and practitioners of military geology and geography and associated fields. Membership is open to all with no distinction of religion, nationality, gender or language."      [Photo credit, IAMG]

He encourages anyone with recommendations or suggestions for the group and this newsletter, to please get in touch at Drew Craig,

The 11th International Conference on Military Geosciences was held in June at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. 

The primary theme for this event was: The Future of Military Geosciences: Scientific Capabilities, Global Security, and Sustainability.

Sub-themes included these and other topics:
  • International security: borders to natural resources
  • Sustainability: from military training areas to deployed settings
  • Coastal and marine environments: warfare to environmental impacts
  • Climate and conflict: military response to predictive climate change
  • 21st Century military hotspots: Future conflict - past warfare 
  • Beyond warfare: Pandemics to providing vital resources 
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Shh! Arizona oil exploration is covert search for buried alien spacecraft

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2015-08-01 20:08
You know that recent report that a California geophysical services company is shooting seismic lines south of Kingman as part of an exploration program to look for oil and gas potential?   Well, according to some folks in Mohave County, it's all a cover up to hide the real purpose - a search for an alien spaceship that crashed in 1947 and somehow is now buried hundreds of feet below the surface.   Without leaving a surface trace.   [Right, still from the 1950s sci-fi film, "It Came From Outer Space"]   

Clearly the article is a spoof, but read the comments from people who describe not one but two buried spacecraft and an almost rush hour like stream of UFOs zooming around the area.

So, let me offer my theory - the alien spacecraft is actually an intergalactic oil tanker.  But the question is whether it came here to steal our oil and take it home, or to dump their own oil here using Earth as a giant waste site.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Arizonans elected as AGU Fellows

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2015-07-31 09:45
Four geoscience faculty members from University of Arizona have been elected Fellows of the American Geophysical Union.  George E. Gehrels, Jonathan T. Overpeck, Jay Quade, and Peter A. Troch, will all be inducted at the AGU Fall Meeting in December in San Francisco.

Election as a Union Fellow is "a tribute to those AGU members who have made exceptional contributions to Earth and space sciences as valued by their peers and vetted by section and focus group committees. This honor is bestowed on only 0.1% of the membership in any given year."
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Remembering Bill Dickinson

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2015-07-30 19:14
The Arizona [Tucson] Daily Star ran a page-2 story on the passing of Bill Dickinson last week, calling him "a leader in the plate tectonics revolution that re-formed our view of how geological forces transform Earth..."

The article noted that Bill received Stanford University's School of Earth, Energy, & Environmental Sciences awarded their inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award last month.

Brian Romans posted a number of short videos on YouTube, of informal interviews with Bill.  One is embedded below.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Study: Rosemont Copper mine has lost $3 billion in value due to permitting delays

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-07-28 19:42
Permitting delays have reduced the economic value of the proposed Rosemont copper mine by $3 billion according to a new study commissioned by the National Mining Association.

NMA commissioned  the  study "Permitting, Economic Value and Mining in the United States", "to demonstrate the economic impact of mining project permitting delays in the United States."   The study researched "selected mining projects at various stages of operations and permitting, in a number of states, to assess the delays that are associated with mine permitting."

The Rosemont copper project south of Tucson was one of the case studies analyzed for the study,   They concluded that "the Rosemont Copper project in Arizona continues in its attempts to secure permits, five years after the originally
planned start date of 2010. Over this period, the value of the project has fallen from $18 billion to $15 billion despite much higher copper prices."

The key findings are that :

  • Unexpected delays in the permitting process alone reduce a typical mining project’s value by more than one-third.
  • The higher costs and increased risk that often arise from a prolonged permitting process can cut the expected value of a mine in half before production even begins.
  • The combined impact of unexpected, and open-ended, delays and higher costs and risks can lead to mining projects becoming financially unviable.

The study found that permitting in the US takes 7-10 years compared to 2-3 years in Canada and Australia, countries with comparable environmental requirements.   I spoke with Katie Sweeney, General Counsel for NMA on our video magazine "Arizona Mining Review' and she said the solution is not to weaken environmental regulations but to require permitting agencies to coordinate their reviews and abide by deadlines.    There is also federal legislation being proposed to require agencies to complete their reviews within specific time-frames, comparable to those in other developed countries with stringent environmental standards.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Bomb threat empties state office complex

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-07-28 13:50
A bomb threat to the Attorney General's office prompted evacuation this morning just after 10 am, of the State Office Complex in Tucson where AZGS is  housed.   Police just gave us clearance to return to our offices after 3 and a half hours.  They brought in bomb-sniffing dogs and a robot from the Tucson Police Bomb Squad [right, robot rolling off the ramp.  bottom, robot on its way to investigate backpack. Trucks in the street carried the canine units].

News reports say similar threats were called into the Attorney General's offices in Phoenix and Prescott.  The Tucson office was the last to be cleared because of a suspicious backpack found outside our building entrance that was situated such that if it was a bomb, would have been aimed at people leaving the main entrance.  The robot unit was sent in to investigate along with officers in body armor and blast gear.

From conversations with officers on the street, nothing was found., and we  were allowed to return about 1:30 pm.     For most employees, our vehicles were in the parking garage and not accessible.   After about 2 hours they brought in city buses so state employees could get in out of the heat which has been just under 100F.  A lot of folks headed to nearby stores and restaurants for an early lunch and cooler air.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

How would Arizona handle a major earthquake in California?

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2015-07-26 11:21
We recently got an inquiry referencing a blog post I did some time back about whether Californians might stream into Arizona looking for shelter and assistance if a major earthquake strikes that area.

We turned to our colleagues at the Arizona Division of Emergency Management and Mariano Gonzalez, Jr., State Plan Coordinator, provided this information about the State Emergency Response and Recovery Plan (SERRP) relative to earthquake evacuation from California to Arizona:
1.  The SERRP is an all-hazards plan.  It contains 15 Emergency Support Functions, and Logistical Support and Specific Incident Annexes.2.  Arizona is a member of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, an agreement of mutual aide and support amongst the States.3.  State agencies have specific rules, laws, and authorities that may allow them to engage immediately in their subject matter area in support of other states' requests.  In this case, a state agency may ask for coordination support from the State Emergency Operations Center to supplement their response work, whether in-state or at the request of another state.4.  FEMA Region IX has constructed a Concept of Operations Document with Arizona to allow for immediate synchronization of efforts in a catastrophic situation affecting Arizona and/or other states in Region IX's area.
These elements allow for rapid support in the initial response, short-term and long-term recovery.
The recent I-10 bridge failure in California demonstrated #2 and #3 above, as ADOT and CALTRANS worked to coordinate traffic control, information flow to the public, and situation reports regarding safety of the rest of the road infrastructure along I-10.  Hats off to ADOT for keeping the Arizona State EOC fully informed of their support to CALTRANS, including the use of WEBEOC to inform all concerned in a real-time basis.
This background supports the answer to Evacuation of California as a result of a catastrophic earthquake.  Arizona would support California's request for evacuation support and reception.  It would be upon California to define and determine (and inform) Arizona how it would map and time the evacuation.  Both Arizona and California's transportation and emergency management agencies would be closely involved in developing this timeline and the support needed. This timeline would be incident specific, and could change on the fly.
It is important to note that California has not engaged with Arizona, to my knowledge, in the past regarding evacuation planning as a result of a catastrophic earthquake.  We would welcome the opportunity.As a final note, cursory research of after action reports and available academic research indicated to our office that residents in California affected by earthquakes in the last thirty years were unwilling to evacuate.  Instead, they chose to camp in available spaces (parks, shelters, etc.) nearby to wait to go back in and rebuild/repair.   
Mariano shared that ADEM would like to work with California to develop a Concept of Operations document to better coordinate and cooperate in the event of a big quake.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Renewed interest in oil and gas exploration in Mohave County

Arizona Geology Blog - Fri, 2015-07-24 08:15

The recent news that a geophysical contractor is carrying out seismic exploration in the Golden Valley area of Sacramento Valley in Mohave County [right, marked by red pin. Credit Googlemaps], reminds me that I blogged about Vanterra Energy's plans for that area back in 2009 -
Vanterra Energy which owns oil and gas leases in the area may have "farmed out" their acreage to another company that would earn an interest in the acreage by funding seismic and drilling a well to 12,000 ft.

My post in 2009 stated:

Forest Gate Energy announced today a partnership with Vanterra Energy and plans to drill a deep exploratory oil well in the Sacramento Valley of Arizona, southwest of Kingman.

The press release said, "Forest Gate and Vanterra are planning to drill an 11,000 foot well targeting the Navajo sands at 6000 feet, the Mississippian carbonates at 9,160 feet, and the Devonian carbonates at 10,160 feet.. A drill site has been selected using the results of a seismic program acquired by Phillips Petroleum in 1981 and subsequently licensed to Vanterra."

Forest Gate said they have run geochemical and geophysical surveys over the prospect. They compared the target as similar to the Grant Canyon oil field in Nevada [above, generalized geology of oil fields in Railroad Valley, NV, based on work done by Don French], which occurs in a block of Paleozoic sediments, down-dropped along a basin-bounding fault and perpendicular block faults. 

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Seismic exploration for oil and gas underway in Mohave County

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2015-07-23 20:15

A seismic exploration company is carrying out a geophysical exploration program in Golden Valley in Mohave County to assess the potential for oil and gas deposits.    The company's  'thumper' trucks [right, credit Nodal Seismic] send vibrations into the ground which bounce off different geologic units and are recorded at the surface by seismic sensors.    The seismic signals provide a map of the shape and nature of rocks in the subsurface.
According to news reports, California based Nodal Seismic is collecting the seismic data for what I interpreted to be a 'spec' survey.  In other words they would not be "shooting" the seismic data (a historical term when dynamite was used to send the signals into the ground) for an oil company client but would collect it in order to sell it to petroleum companies to generate interest in the oil and gas potential of the area.    

Update 7-24-15, 8am: Since I wrote this, I understand Vanterra Energy may have an agreement with another company that would earn an interest in their leased acreage by funding the seismic acquisition and drilling of an exploratory well.
An article in the Kingman Daily Miner quoted residents as worrying about the impact of hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' on their groundwater.   First, this is only a geophysical exploration program.  No one has proposed drilling any wells.  And even if wells were drilled, hydraulic fracturing is a technique that is used in only certain geologic environments.  We have not seen anything to suggest that geology in Golden Valley would be suitable for fracking.
The Arizona Oil & Gas Conservation Commission permits and regulates all oil and gas drilling and would specifically have to approve any hydraulic fracturing operations.
So, don't panic.   There are a lot of 'ifs' before any of this would lead to drilling or development.   There have been over 1,100 wells drilled for oil and gas in Arizona and only a handful ever produced and they are on the Navajo Reservation just on the border with Utah.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Sudden passing of Bill Dickinson

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2015-07-21 07:34
We just learned from his family that William "Bill" Dickinson, Professor Emeritus in the Dept. of Geosciences at the University of Arizona, died in his sleep early yesterday morning while doing field work in Tonga.

His bio on Wikipedia notes that Bill was a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Prior joining the University of Arizona, Bill was a professor at Stanford University. He joined the UA faculty in 1979.

Dickinson is renowned for his work in plate tectonics, sedimentary geology and Pacific Oceana geology and is considered one of the foremost experts on the geology of the Colorado Plateau. Dickinson is one of the founders of the Gazzi-Dickinson Method and its primary application, QFL diagrams and their use in sandstone provenance.

Dickinson's research includes studying the potsherds (historic or prehistoric fragments of pottery) of Pacific Oceana. Over the years, he has visited hundreds of Pacific Islands collecting and dating sherds.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts
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