AZGS Web Posts

Mining claims in Arizona dropped by 9,000 in 2014

Arizona Geology Blog - Mon, 2015-02-02 16:57
Mining claims on federal lands in Arizona decreased by approximately 9,000 in 2014 from their highest level in at least a decade, to the lowest level since 2008.  The causes may be in part the lower commodity prices last year, but the federal land agency fee increases may be the bigger factor, with marginal or low priority claims being dropped, particularly by small companies and individuals.

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More aftershocks to Duncan and Oak Creek Canyon earthquakes

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2015-01-31 16:30
We had aftershocks on Wednesday from both of last year's more prominent earthquakes in Arizona.

A magnitude 2.5 quake (orange dot  on AZ-NM border) is likely an aftershock to last June's M=5.3 Duncan earthquake.  It occurred at 3:50 p.m. local time on January 28.  The yellow dot is another aftershock, M=3.4 that occurred earlier in the week.

Another magnitude 2.5 quake hit south of Flagstaff, at 9:33 a.m. the same day, an aftershock to the November 30, -M=4.7 earthquake that occurred in Oak Creek Canyon near the Kachina Village area between Flagstaff and Sedona.   Our calculated located is a few miles west of the USGS location (yellow dot). We think ours is the more accurate location because we are using the stations in the AZGS and NAU networks for the epicenter solution.

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Record rain fills rivers and washes in Tucson area

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2015-01-31 10:22

Friday's record rains in the Tucson area are generating huge flows in the regions rivers, that typically run dry much of the year.  The Catalina Mountains received over 5" of rain during the storm. Rain continues this morning.  Mike Conway, Chief of the AZGS Geologic Extension Service, reports that
at midnight, flooding on Tanque Verde Wash reached ~5,500 cfs. That is a high for the area, and much greater than flow on other washes and rivers in the area – see the hydrographs from the USGS for the Santa Cruz River Basin and San Pedro River Basin -
For comparison, Mike says the Colorado River at Yuma rarely gets above 5,000 cfs.


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We're #1! - Arizona top mining state again

Arizona Geology Blog - Sat, 2015-01-31 09:49
The Super Bowl in Phoenix tomorrow may be getting most of the attention this week but in the mining industry, Arizona just moved into the championship role.

Arizona is the #1 mineral-producing state (non-fuel) in the U.S. for 2014, according to a new report from the US Geological Survey.  The 2015 Mineral Commodities Summary reports that Arizona produced $8.06 billion worth of minerals in 2014, or 10.38% of all non-fuel minerals in the nation, with the principal minerals being, in order, copper, molybdenum concentrates, sand and gravel (construction), cement (portland), stone (crushed).  [Right, copper plate ready to be shipped. Credit, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold]    Arizona production was up $520 million over 2013.

Nevada, which had been the top producer for the past few years, came in second with $7.490 billion or 9.66% of the national production, led by gold, copper, silver, lime, and diatomite.  This is a drop of over $1.5 billion from the previous year.

Arizona produces about two-thirds of the copper used in the US, and even though prices dropped over last year to the lowest in five years, the drop in price of gold had an even bigger impact on Nevada's industry.

The USGS Minerals Commodity Summary is compiled from information provided by State Geological Surveys and others, including AZGS.

[update 2-3-15, 0820: due to a typo, the original post stated production amounts were millions instead of billions of dollars. Thanks to the anonymous reader for catching the error]
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