AZGS Web Posts

Responses posted to Rosemont Copper objections

Arizona Geology Blog - Tue, 2014-06-17 14:52
Coronado National Forest officials have posted responses to the objections raised about the proposed Rosemont Copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.   Responses are targeted to each person or organization that made objections.

Regional Forester Calvin Joyner said they received 114 objections by the deadline, of which 101 were deemed eligible.   In his response letters to the objectors, Joyner stated that he found the "project is in compliance with these [environmental] laws, regulations, policies, and Forest Plan.  However, by copy of this letter, I am instructing the Forest Supervisor to complete consultation with the USFWS [US Fish & Wildlife Service] and address the clarifications and corrections I identified above prior to signing the Final ROD [Record of Decision]."

The latter condition appears to refer to further consultation with USFWS over the siting of an ocelot in the region, something which had been anticipated in the EIS.   Otherwise, my quick reading of the documents found what appear to be only relatively minor corrections, clarifications, or revisions.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Wildfires & monsoon mean floods and debris flows - hazard assessed at Sedona's Slide fire

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-15 09:46

Wildfires burn away hillside vegetation and lead to flooding and debris flows (commonly called mudslides). With the official start of the monsoon season today, which is predicted to be wetter than normal, areas recently burned such as the area between Sedona and Flagstaff in the Slide fire, are at higher risk.  

Local news reports on the results of the Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team evaluation indicate an 8-times greater risk of flooding as a result of the Slide fire.   AZGS geologist Dr. Ann Youberg is our debris flow specialist and participates in BAER team assessments.

Similar hazards and risks exist across the Western U.S.   A new online hazard assessment system was unveiled by the USGS last week that includes the Slide fire.   It shows substantial areas with 60-80% probability of debris flows based on 10-year storms.  A few small areas reach the 80-100% probability range.

[From the USGS explanation: The interactive map above displays estimates of the probability of debris flow (in %), potential volume of debris flow (in m3), and combined relative debris flow hazard. These predictions are made at the scale of the drainage basin, and at the scale of the individual stream segment. Estimates of probability, volume, and combined hazard are based upon a design storm with 10-year recurrence interval (i.e., a 1 in 10 chance of a storm of that magnitude occurring in any given year). Predictions may be viewed interactively by clicking on the button at the top right corner of the map displayed above. Visit the Scientific Background page for more information on how the predictions are calculated. For more information about what to do in case you live in an area where debris flows are possible, please visit If you live in a recently burned area, and there is a rainstorm…]

AGU blogger Alexandra Branscombe took a look at predicting post-fire mudslides in the Western U.S.  at

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Google Earth view of Arizona earth fissures

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-15 08:53
AZGS geologist Joe Cook, who manages our Earth Fissures mapping program, has created a Google Earth view of all the Earth Fissures identified in Arizona thus far. The Google Earth app complements the online interactive Earth Fissure Viewer which is widely used by home buyers, home builders, real estate professionals, and local planners.  

The Google Earth view is available at

Earth fissures typically form due to basin subsidence in areas of rapid groundwater withdrawal.  Fissures have formed in Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, and Santa Cruz counties in Arizona, but also occur in California, Texas, Mexico, and other areas with similar conditions.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Earth fissures now available on Google Earth

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-08 10:16
You can now view Arizona's earth fissures on Google Earth  thanks to AZGS project manager Joe Cook.     You can access the viewer through  our Maps and Database Services page at

[Right, distribution of mapped earth fissures in Cochise, Maricopa and Pinal Counties as shown in the Google Earth environment]

The Earth Fissure Viewer at remains as the official source of Earth Fissure maps and information for those involved in the real estate - development businesses.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

7-ounce gold nugget stolen from UA Mineral Museum

Arizona Geology Blog - Thu, 2014-06-05 13:35
The University of Arizona Police Department reported yesterday that, "On Saturday May 30, 2014 at approximately 2:30 p.m., a gold nugget from the Hubert de Monmonier Collection was stolen from the Flandrau Planetarium at the University of Arizona. The gold nugget measures 3.11 in. x 1.26 in. by .9 in. (7.9 cm x 3.2 cm x 2.3 cm) and weighs .48 pounds (7 ounces). The nugget is valued at $30,000 and is well-known to the mineral community and museum enthusiasts."    [Photo credit, UA Police Dept.]

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

UA short course on ore deposits mapping

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-06-04 20:30
We received this announcement today and  are sharing it in full:
University of Arizona Lowell Program in Economic Geology
Short Course on Ore Deposits Mapping
August 28 - September 6, 2014
Yerington porphyry and skarn mapping exercises, and field trip of ore-forming systems in the Great Basin

Dear Colleagues:
We are opening registration for the tenth offering of our Short Course on Ore Deposits Mapping, which
will take place Thursday, August 28 through Saturday, September 6, 2014. A tentative outline is
given below.

Course Details:
As has been tradition in the U of A’s advanced ore deposits curriculum over the last 15 years, Mark
Barton and Eric Seedorff will again be leading the extended field trip and mapping course through the
Great Basin. It will be an opportunity to see ore deposits of various types and ages, set in the context of
the structural and magmatic evolution of the region. The trip is designed for graduate students taking an
advanced ore deposits class, but we will make available approximately 25 seats for members of industry.
The trip will include a focused multi-day introduction to the “Anaconda-style” of detailed mapping in
the Yerington district, Nevada. The district contains porphyry copper and skarn mineralization, but the
mapping method is adaptable to any type of deposit. As part of this, we highlight how mapping can be
used to understand zoning, the time-space evolution of mineralizing systems, and the relationships to the
fundamental phase equilibria of hydrothermal alteration. In addition to numerous other geologic stops,
the trip also anticipates to include overviews and/or tours of the following districts and deposits:
  • Tonopah, Nevada [low-sulfidation epithermal Ag-Au],
  • Goldfield, Nevada [high-sulfidation epithermal Au],
  • Birch Creek, California [F-Be-W-(Zn) greisen/skarn],
  • Humboldt, Nevada [IOCG occurrences],
  • Eureka district, Nevada [partially superimposed systems, with a Carlin-type Au mine at Archimedes, a porphyry Mo-Cu to replacement Zn-Pb-Ag deposit at Ruby Hill, and the top of a F-W-Zn-Be-(Mo-Sn) system at McCullough Butte]
  • Robinson district, Nevada [porphyry Cu-(Mo-Au) and related skarn and distal Au-Ag deposits].

The trip is 10 days round trip from Las Vegas, covering about 25
participants should plan to arrive in Las Vegas no later than Wednesday evening August 27, as the trip
leaves early on Thursday morning August 28. Industry participants should also plan to depart from Las
Vegas no earlier than late Thursday evening September 06, 2014.
00 miles in 4WD vehicles. Industry

The early registration cost of the trip for non-university participants is US$3,200, which includes ground
transportation, all lunches in the field, double-occupancy accommodations in motels each night during
the trip, and course materials. Breakfasts and most dinners are the responsibility of participants. Industry
participants also will need to provide their own transportation to and from Las Vegas as well as their
accommodations the night preceding and following the trip. Please respond via e-mail to for reservations. Register soon! This sort course sells out quickly.

Please find enclosed to this letter all registration materials (registration and foreign visitor statement
forms in English and in Spanish as well as the documentation required for foreign nationals (non US
citizens) so that you can forward this information to your co-workers and friends.

Visit our webpage: to learn more about our program and short courses
We also take the opportunity to inform you that our Short Course on Porphyry Deposits will take place
again December 9-18, 2014. This 9-day short course has a focus on exploration geology that includes
3½ days of lectures and 2 days of labs in Tucson, and 3½ days of field trips to representative ore
systems in Arizona. As in years past, we will send the registration materials for this course in late July.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Exemption period for geologist licensure in Louisiana

Arizona Geology Blog - Wed, 2014-06-04 07:39

We received this news from the Louisiana Board of Professional Geoscientists that describes the possibility for registered geologists in Arizona and other states to be eligible for licensure in Louisiana without having to take the exam there.  [Right, geologic map of Louisiana. Credit, EPA] Louisiana Representative Hunter Greene’s House Bill 167 on professionallicensure for geologists has become law. Act 228, effective May 28, 2014, amends and reenacts the Louisiana Revised Statute 37:711.14(B) and 711.15(A)(4)(b) relative to the Louisiana Professional Geoscience Practice Act as follows:
§711.14(B) Examinations – The Board may adopt or recognize, in whole or in part, an examination prepared, administered, or graded by another organization, on a regional or national basis, that the board determines appropriate to measure the qualifications of an applicant for a license under this Chapter; however the board retains the authority to determine a passing grade for a license in this state on an adopted or recognized examination prepared, administered, or graded by another organization, on a regional or national basis. §711.15(A)(4)(b) License eligibility – An applicant who applies for licensure under this Chapter prior to January 1, 2015, shall be exempt from taking the examination described in Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph if the applicant satisfies all the other requirements of this Subsection.

For more information, contact: Georgeann McNicholasExecutive Secretary
Louisiana Board of Professional Geoscientists9643 Brookline Ave., Ste. 101
Baton Rouge, LA  70806ofc. 225-389-6116fax  225-448-2964cell
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

White House comments on National Geothermal Data System

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2014-06-02 07:55
The White House released a Fact Sheet on last week's Energy Datapalooza, that featured the formal launch of the AZGS-built and managed National Geothermal Data System, by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.

The President's Science Advisor,Dr. John Holdren and Secretary Moniz bloggedabout the event -- and below is the Fact Sheet: Harnessing the Power of Data for a Clean, Secure, and Reliable Energy Future. In addition, you can watch the full video of the event on YouTube, and check out a photo gallery on Flickr.

 The Fact Sheet said this about NGDS:
Open geothermal data for scientists and industry: In response to industry demand, the Energy Department supported in the Recovery Act the creation of a National Geothermal Data System. Today, the Department of Energy is launching this resource that contains enough raw geoscience data to pinpoint elusive sweet spots of geothermal energy deep in the earth, enabling researchers and commercial developers to find the most promising areas for geothermal energy. Access to this data will reduce costs and risks of geothermal electricity production and, in turn, accelerate its deployment.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

User community vision for geoscience cyberinfrastructure - NSF's EarthCube

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-01 15:09

I would like to draw your attention to the article "Community-Developed Geoscience Cyberinfrastructure: an End-User Vision for EarthCube", that was published last week in Eos, the American Geophysical Union’s weekly newspaper-style publication. This vision draws from the findings of the AZGS-organized EarthCube end-user workshops that took place in 2012 and 2013. It aims to provide more structure to geoscientists in anticipating what EarthCube could be and do.  Steve Richard, AZGS Geoinformatics Chief, is the lead author of the Eos article.
EarthCube is a National Science Foundation effort to create cyberinfrastructure for the geosciences.  AZGS is managing the 2-year long Test Enterprise Governance project in EarthCube to seek community consensus on how we design and implement a system architecture.  We also run the EarthCube website,, and community engagement activities, including the upcoming All Hands Meeting in Washington DC, June 24-26.
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Hyperspectral core analysis demo underway in Tucson

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-01 14:43
The Australian company Corescan has brought their trailer-mounted hyperspectral core scanning system to Tucson this week to demonstrate the technology to the local mining industry before the facility moves to its new base in Hermosillo, Mexico.   Cores generally are brought to the facility but for larger or urgent jobs, the trailer can be set up on the exploration site.

The trailer is being hosted in Bronco Creek Exploration's parking lot [top right] and test runs are being done for a variety of core samples including some from the AZGS repository.   [bottom right, Corescan's Brigette Martini with AZGS' Mike Conway and unidentified technician, run scan on an Arizona core sample]

Corescan is evaluating the market for opening a US office with Tucson likely on the short list.

[note: an earlier version of this post mistakenly stated the trailer was at the offices of Bear Creek]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

USGS soil geochemistry and mineral database: 45 elements at 4857 sampling sites

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-01 13:44
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a national database of geochemical analyses for 45 major and trace elements at each of 4857 sample sites from across the U.S.    The USGS gave us an online briefing of the system and we are just starting to explore the data for Arizona.

According to the announcement the USGS began sampling in 2007 for a low-density (1 site per 1,600 square kilometers, 4,857 sites) geochemical and mineralogical survey of soils in the conterminous United States as part of the North American Soil Geochemical Landscapes Project.

The sampling protocol for the national-scale survey included, at each site, a sample from a depth of 0 to 5 centimeters, a composite of the soil A horizon, and a deeper sample from the soil C horizon.  "The resulting data set provides an estimate of the abundance and spatial distribution of chemical elements and minerals in soils of the conterminous United States and represents a baseline for soil geochemistry and mineralogy against which future changes may be recognized and quantified. This report releases geochemical and mineralogical maps along with a histogram, boxplot, and empirical cumulative distribution function plot for each element or mineral."

Highlights of the USGS Soil Chemistry Program – now in public release.
•         4857 sampling sites (1 site/1,600 km2) conterminous U.S.
•         Results not unlike a blood test
•         Vast improvement on 1960s era nationwide study
•         Produce a soil geochem and mineralogical database in conterminous U.S.
•         Establish an archive of soil samples.
•         Provide background range of elements in soil
•         Sampling at 0-5 cm, composite of A horizon, composite of B or C horizon.
•         45 major and trace elements
•         19 mineral species (A and C horizon) – a first for soil survey of this magnitude
•         Soil pathogens (0-5 cm depth) – anthrax, plague, hooray!
•         Interactive web site in the works – release scheduled next week.
•         Data display on Google Earth – Kml files (PDF and GeoTiff, too)   


Smith, D.B., Cannon, W.F., Woodruff, L.G., Solano, Federico, and Ellefsen, K.J., 2014, Geochemical and mineralogical maps for soils of the conterminous United States: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2014–1082, 386 p.,

Smith, D.B., Cannon, W.F., Woodruff, L.G., Solano, Federico, Kilburn, J.E., and Fey, D.L., 2013, Geochemical and mineralogical data for soils of the conterminous United States: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 801, 19 p.,
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

New land subsidence maps from AZ Dept. of Water Resources

Arizona Geology Blog - Sun, 2014-06-01 13:03

Land subsidence maps have been updated on the Arizona Dept. of Water Resources website using InSAR (satellite interferometry) data through 2014, according to Brian Conway, head of the Geophysics/Surveying Section.  You can access the maps for each land subsidence feature at this link:

I copied the subsidence for the West Valley (Phoenix basin) from May 2010 to April 2014 as one example.

ADWR maintains subsidence maps for 18 basins (listed below) across Arizona, focusing those where over-pumping of groundwater is generating land subsidence and Earth fissures.   

Scottsdale/NE Phoenix McMullen Valley Picacho/Eloy Fort Grant Rd West Valley Harquahala Valley Maricopa-Stanfield Kansas Settlement Hawk Rock Ranegras Valley Tucson Elfrida Buckeye Gila Bend Green Valley Bowie/San Simon Holbrook Sinks East Valley    

Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Wonk Alert: New standard will improve energy data sharing

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-05-31 19:30

Energistics, the global non-profit standards organization for the upstream petroleum industry, has published the Energy Industry Profile (EIP) Version 1.0 of ISO 19115-1. The EIP is an open, non-proprietary metadata exchange standard designed to document structured and unstructured information resources of importance to members of the energy community and to maximize metadata interoperability within the industry. Energistics' Geoportal is a Reference Implementation of a searchable catalog compliant with the EIP metadata standard. The implementation demonstrates discovery of distributed resources documented by EIP and any of three metadata standards transformable to EIP (ISO 19115, ISO 19115-2, FGDC).    Steve Richard, Geoinformatics Chief at AZGS is a member of the Energistics' Metadata Work Group and played a key role in developing the EIP and shepherding it through the international approval process.

Publishing the EIP for the industry accomplishes three objectives: 
  • Enable energy stakeholders to effectively and efficiently locate, analyze and retrieve a variety of information from distributed repositories
  • Support a variety of data management needs as well as the exchange of data between and within organizations
  • Leverage existing standards to encourage community adoption and integration into the business while exploiting existing resources for governance and maintenance.

Jay Hollingsworth, Chief Technical Officer of Energistics, said, "The adoption of the EIP specification is intended to promote tool development and best practices that will reduce the overhead required for metadata creation, maintenance and utilization."
According to Segun Oyebanji, CIO of Chevron Energy Technology Company and General Manager Technical Computing, and an Energistics Board Member, "The EIP can be used for a wide variety of energy industry resource types but the current focus is on information which has associated geographic coordinates."
"The RESQML SIG sees great value in using the EIP and plans to incorporate it into RESQML Version 2.0", stated Chris Legg, Geologist at BP and RESQML SIG Leader.
Scott Hills, a Consulting Research Scientist for Chevron and Energistics' Metadata Work Group Lead, explained that, "Although the EIP was developed with significant community input, it's based on a newly revised ISO standard.  As a result, the Work Group believes that its focus should now shift from development to adoption.  We believe this will best help the community begin to realize value from the EIP, and identify the highest value enhancements for the next release."
For more information, visit the Energistics web site to view the Energy Information Profile Standard.   [this post is a modified version of the Energistics announcement]
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Abstracts due for national AIPG-AHS joint meeting in Prescott, Arizona

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-05-31 17:13
A reminder that abstracts are due June 2 for the joint national meeting of the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) and the annual meeting of the Arizona Hydrological Society (AHS), to be held in Prescott, Sept. 13-16, 2014.   I'm reposting the AIPG-AHS announcement below.  The range of topics for presentation is wide.

Join the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) and the Arizona Hydrological Society (AHS) for the 2014 Water and Rocks, the Foundations of Life National Conference in Prescott, Arizona.
How to Submit Abstracts - pdf file

To have your abstract considered for a presentation or poster, please go to to submit an abstract online by June 2, 2014. Abstracts must be in Word format, single spaced, 12 point Times New Roman, and should not exceed one page. No tables or pictures will be accepted. You will be notified by June 16, 2014 if your abstract has been accepted. Extended abstracts and full papers are welcome, but not required. Please contact Cathy Duran with AIPG if you have any additional questions. Phone: (303) 412-6205 or E-mail:

Potential Topics Sample

    Application of GW Flow Models to Water Planning
    Colorado River
    Colorado River & Suspended Sediment
    Colorado River Experimental High Flows
    Colorado River Watershed & Uranium
    Colorado River Watershed Springs
    Drought & Climate Change
    Ecosystem Flow Needs
    Engineering Geology
    Environmental Geology
    Ethics/International Practices in the Profession
    Geochemistry & Geomorphology
    Geographic Information System Applications
    Geology of Arizona
    Geophysics & Groundwater
    Geophysics & Subsidence
    Groundwater Management & Policy
    Groundwater Modeling
    Groundwater Quality
    Hydraulic Fracturing
    Hydrogeologic Framework Studies
    Industrial Minerals
    Long-Term Groundwater/Surface Water Monitoring
    Mine Closure & Reclamation
    Mine Water
    Mining & Economic Geology
    Oil & Gas
    Overdraft, Safe Yield &
    Porphyry Copper
    Precious Metals
    Project Profiles
    Rare Earth Elements
    Reclamation in Arid Environments
    San Pedro Watershed
    Santa Cruz River
    Springs as Geochemical & Biodiversity Indicators
    Surface Water - Groundwater Interaction
    Surface Water Quality
    Tribal Water Concerns/Management Strategies
    Verde River Watershed
    Water Management
    Water Quality Management
    Young Professionals/Early Career Scientists
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

ADOT report on aggregate sources of northern Arizona

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-05-31 10:55
The Arizona Dept. of Transportation has released a 129-page report documenting aggregate resources in northern Arizona to assess what could be available for road construction and repair. [Right, locations of mineral aggregate locations identified in report]   The challenge for ADOT is less about the presence of aggregate materials and more about finding them in locations where they can be mined.

The abstract states:
Constructing and maintaining Arizona’s highway system requires a dependable, abundant supply of mineral aggregates, borrow, quarried rock, and other materials. Finding such sources is important in northern Arizona, where suitable materials may be limited and land jurisdictions, including sovereign American Indian nations and lands administered by the State of Arizona and federal agencies, are difficult to develop for such purposes. The Flagstaff, Globe, Holbrook, Kingman, and Prescott districts of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), encompassing Apache, Coconino, Mohave, Navajo, and Yavapai counties, may require up to 46 million tons of material for pavement preservation, safety improvements, widening, or reconstruction of traffic interchanges on the Interstate system and maintenance over the next 20 years. This study focuses on potential sources within a 10‐mile‐wide corridor along the existing Interstates, U.S. highways, and state routes in the five‐county project area; the project team identified 285 sites that may be suitable. The team estimates that these sites may require three months to three years to develop, depending on the time needed for environmental clearance and permitting, site exploration and characterization, and site development, including building haul routes to move materials for highway projects. An implementation plan was outlined for ADOT that provides a process to determine which sites should be reviewed and cleared.

The report is available online (click on link below). It was prepared for ADOT by Jeff Swan, with Swan Consulting, G. Bruce Kay with Ninyo & Moore and George A. Ruffner & Amanda Sydloski at EcoPlan Associates, Inc.

Ref:  "Aggregate Sources for Construction andMaintenance in Northern Arizona," ADOT SPR500, April, 2014
Categories: AZGS Web Posts

Rio Tinto names Resolution Copper project one of 3 best prospects

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2014-05-31 10:41
Rio Tinto's CEO Sam Walsh told an Australian mining investment conference that the Resolution copper project in Arizona as one of the "three best development prospects on Rio's books.”    Rio Tinto is the operating partner in the joint venture with BHP Billiton.

The Resolution Copper project could supply as much as one-quarter of US copper needs for 40 years.  It will be an underground mine near the town of Superior.  The company is drilling a shaft to 7,500 foot depth, but is waiting for Congress to act on a land exchange bill the company says is necessary for them to proceed.   [Right, diagram of proposed underground block caving method.  Credit, Resolution Copper mine plan of operations]

The other two top ranked projects are the La Granja copper project in Peru,  and Australia's South of Embley bauxite project.

Categories: AZGS Web Posts
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