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.
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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.

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