Monday, July 21, 2014

Rep. Kirkpatrick calls for permanent ban on new uranium mining near Grand Canyon

U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ, 1st Congressional district) tweeted this morning "Will you help me call for a permanent ban on new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon?"



The link takes you to a re-election campaign website which shows a picture of the Grand Canyon [right] and says "Uranium mining is a real threat to the Grand Canyon. We have to preserve this wonder of the world for future generations. Please sign our petition to protect the Grand Canyon."






Sunday, July 20, 2014

Large drilling program announced for St. John's CO2-helium field

A Kinder Morgan  representative told the Arizona Oil & Gas Conservation Commission on Friday that the company is on track to complete their current evaluation drilling in the St. John's, Arizona carbon dioxide and helium filed [right, credit, Kinder Morgan] by year's end.  Then they anticipate filing permits for 14 additional wells.

Kinder Morgan propose a roughly $1 billion investment in the field, with three-quarters of it for drilling and field development and one-quarter for a pipeline to move the CO2 to an existing pipeline in New Mexico that moves CO2 east to oilfields for enhanced oil recovery.

The Oil & Gas Commission was holding their regular quarterly meeting in Phoenix.

Latest M 3.0 Duncan aftershock close to New Mexico border

I seem to have missed another magnitude 3.0 aftershock last Thursday from the June 28 magnitude 5.2 Duncan earthquake. This latest event occurred at 2:12 am, and was almost on the New Mexico border, further east than the other large aftershocks.  [Right, orange star marks the epicenter.  Credit, USGS]



Saturday, July 19, 2014

UA plots of Duncan earthquake seismograms

The University of Arizona's Global Seismology and Tectonics group in the Geosciences Dept. created a webpage for the magnitude 5.2 Duncan (southeast Arizona) earthquake of June 28. One of the graduate students in the research group, Jon Delph, put together plots of the earthquake record from the Tucson permanent station [right] as well as several other North American permanent stations.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

HudBay Minerals acquires 92% of Augusta Resources stock; management changes coming

HudBay Minerals announced today that stockholders tendered 92% of Augusta Resources stock to the company. August is the parent of Rosemont Copper which is permitting a large open pit copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains in southern Arizona, that could produce 5% of US copper for 40 years. [Right, proposed mine site.  Credit, Rosemont Copper]

HudBay Minerals Inc. and Augusta Resource Corporation announced today that Hudbay has taken up 116,233,761 common shares ("Augusta Shares") of Augusta that were validly deposited under Hudbay's offer to acquire all of the outstanding Augusta Shares not already owned by Hudbay or its affiliates for consideration per Augusta Share of 0.315 of a common share of Hudbay and 0.17 of a warrant to acquire a common share of Hudbay (the "Offer"). The Augusta Shares taken up under the Offer, together with those already owned by Hudbay, represent approximately 92% of the issued and outstanding Augusta Shares.
 
Hudbay has extended the Offer until 5:00 p.m. (Toronto time) on July 29, 2014 (the "Expiry Time") to enable Augusta shareholders who have not yet tendered their Augusta Shares to accept the Offer.

As I predicted earlier this week, HudBay plans on putting their own people in key positions in Augusta Resources (and Rosemont Copper as well?):

 It is anticipated that members of Hudbay's current management team will assume management positions with Augusta and replace Augusta's current senior management team and certain members of the Augusta Board of Directors will be replaced by nominees of Hudbay. In particular, David S. Bryson, Alan T. C. Hair, Patrick Donnelly and Patrick Merrin will be appointed to the Augusta Board of Directors, joining current directors Lenard F. Boggio, Timothy Baker and W. Durand Eppler. Gilmour Clausen, Christopher M. H. Jennings, Robert P. Pirooz, Robert P. Wares and Richard W. Warke will resign from the Augusta Board of Directors.

The two companies also announced a loan of C$40 million from HudBay "intended to provide short-term working capital amounts to Augusta."

Slide wildfire video describes firefighting strategy

The Southwest Fire Science Consortium posted a video report on the Slide wildfire on Vimeo.   They described it:

The Slide Fire ignited on May 20, 2014, 2014 in Oak Creek Canyon between Flagstaff and Sedona, Arizona. Firefighters first raced to keep the fire from destroying over 300 homes and cabins in the canyon, and later prevented the fire from moving into residential areas outside of Flagstaff. While the strategy chosen to manage the Slide Fire using large, low-intensity burnouts on the perimeter of the fire was primarily aimed at increasing firefighter safety and taking advantage of natural terrain features, it had the added benefit of providing benefits for the forest and landscape. The management of this fire reflects the changing nature of wildfire in the western US. This video was narrated by Tim Harrison and written and produced by Josh McDaniel for the Southwest Fire Science Consortium.

You can find out more about wildfire science in the Southwest by visiting swfireconsortium.org.

The Slide Fire from Josh McDaniel on Vimeo.

We've been monitoring the area for heavy rains that could cause debris flows ("mudslides").

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Participate in EarthCube governance



The Arizona Geological Survey has been running the NSF EarthCube Test Enterprise Governance project for the past year, gauging community requirements for cyberinfrastructure in the geosciences. We now have a community-driven plan and design that we are sharing publicly.  Participation in EarthCube is open and we'll describe opportunities to be involved.  [Right, Susan Winters, Brian Wee, and Jennifer Arrigo strategize at one the EarthCube workshops organized by AZGS earlier this year. Credit, AZGS]

 Join us as we move into the next phase of building EarthCube!

Interested in participating in EarthCube's Demonstration GovernanceMark your calendar for one of the upcoming EarthCube Community Webinars on Thursday, July 17 at 9am MST/12PM EDT, or Monday, July 21 at 12pm MST/3pm EDTCall-in details are posted here.

The purpose of these webinars is to discuss priorities, expectations, and next steps for all of those interested in participating in EarthCube Demonstration Governance standing committees and teams.These groups, the Technology/Architecture Standing Committee, Science Standing Committee, Engagement Team, and Liaison Team, will be responsible for carrying out specific critical functions for EarthCube and EarthCube Governance. Therefore, the EarthCube community will be empowered to decide how they will accomplish these functions by defining decision-making processes and leadership roles.


We encourage all members of the EarthCube community who have already expressed interest, have an interest, or just want to learn more about how to participate in these groups to join us. As always, these sessions are open to all.
 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

HudBay acquisition of Augusta Resources on verge of completion

HudBay Minerals could complete its friendly acquisition of Augusta Resources, parent company of Rosemont Copper, sometime tomorrow, Wednesday, July 16.

Augusta's "poison pill" stockholder protection plan expires today.    First thing Wednesday, the stock shares tendered by current owners will be sold to HudBay by brokers and before the end of the day, HudBay is expected to own the company.

The final deal agreed to unanimously by Augusta's Board of Directors, provides that "in addition to 0.315 of a Hudbay common share as provided in Hudbay's original offer, Augusta shareholders will also receive 0.17 of a warrant to acquire a common share of Hudbay for each Augusta common share, representing consideration with a value of approximately C$3.56 per Augusta common share. The Revised Offer represents a total equity value of C$555 million based on 100% of the fully-diluted, in-the-money common shares of Augusta (including those already owned by Hudbay)."

HudBay executives and technical staff have already been in Tucson for weeks assessing the Rosemont property and preparing for the takeover.  It's expected that HudBay will honor the commitments made by Rosemont as part of the permitting process, but will transfer staff from their Canadian headquarters and facilities to fill key slots at the Rosemont operation.   


US 89 landslide repairs to begin

The Arizona Dept. of Transportation issued the following press release on Monday:

Damaged highway south of Page set to reopen before next summer travel season

PHOENIX —The reconstruction of US 89 between Bitter Springs and Page will begin later this month after the State Transportation Board approved a $25 million project to repair the landslide-damaged highway at Friday’s board meeting in Cottonwood, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.









The roadway, which suffered catastrophic damage following a landslide on the early morning of Feb. 20, 2013, has remained closed after a 500-foot section of roadway buckled in Echo Cliffs, approximately 25 miles south of Page.

The repair will include moving the roadway approximately 60 feet away from the landslide area toward Echo Cliffs and using rock material removed for the roadway realignment to construct a downslope buttress to stabilize the area.

The closed section of roadway is scheduled to reopen prior to next summer’s busy travel season. The construction contract will also include a monetary incentive for the contractor if it is able to complete the project ahead of schedule.

Work on the project will begin in a couple of weeks, but major work is expected to start in late August when crews begin drilling and blasting operations to build the rock buttress. Nearly 1 million cubic yards of rock material is expected to be removed and a 1,500-foot section of US 89 will be realigned with new pavement.

The ultimate repair of US 89 is the final step in fulfilling ADOT’s three-pronged approach to the US 89 landslide incident, which included providing immediate emergency access, conducting a geotechnical investigation and restoring essential traffic to the area.


Last summer ADOT paved Navajo Route 20 (Temporary US 89), which was a mostly dirt road stretching from Bodaway-Gap to LeChee.

“Once a long-term solution was identified, ADOT worked diligently to complete all the federally required clearances needed prior to construction,” said Steve Boschen, ADOT deputy state engineer of project delivery. “This process can sometimes take years, but with help from many of our Navajo Nation partners, the Federal Highway Administration and other regulatory stakeholders, we are ready to begin the US 89 landslide repair.”

Prior to breaking ground on the project later this month, ADOT had to clear several hurdles. After an extensive geotechnical investigation identified the necessary repairs last summer, ADOT retained an engineering design firm and developed plans for the eventual repair.

Following that, the team finalized all federally required environmental reviews that include cultural, biological and water quality measures, completed the plans for the required right-of-way easements, and finalized negotiations with the contractor.

The final step prior to Friday’s board approval was completing negotiations on a guaranteed maximum price for the project construction with FNF Construction, the same contractor that completed the paving of US 89T.

The US 89 landslide repair project is eligible for reimbursement through the Federal Highway Administration’s emergency relief program, which provides funding to state and local agencies for the repair or reconstruction of highways, roads and bridges that are damaged in natural disasters and catastrophic failures.

For more information, visit azdot.gov/us89.   Note, there are 15 videos posted there covering various aspects of the landslide, community impacts, engineering, and construction plans,

Read more at: azdot.gov/media/News

Small quake northwest of Kingman


Most of our attention has been on southeastern Arizona where aftershocks continue from the June 28 magnitude 5.2 Duncan earthquake.   But yesterday the opposite side of the state had a minor M 1.9 earthquake at1:13 p.m. local time, midway between Kingman and Boulder City.

[Right, orange star marks epicenter.  Credit, USGS]

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Biggest aftershock yet from Duncan quake - M 4.1

A magnitude 4.1 aftershock last night at 7:48 p.m. local time, is the biggest since the main 5.2 Duncan earthquake struck on June 28.  [Right, southern-most orange circle is the M 4.1 event.  Credit, USGS]

There was another M 3.0 aftershock at 12:53 a.m. this morning.  That makes 7 events in a day and half of about magnitude 3 or larger, most of which were felt by local residents and some at least 30 miles away.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Map of largest aftershocks from the Duncan M 5.2 earthquake

We posted a map [right] this afternoon of all of the magnitude 3.0 and larger aftershocks from the June 28 magnitude 5.2 Duncan earthquake [shown in red]. Five of the 13 events have occurred in roughly the last 24 hours.

The seismic stations used to record the aftershocks are far enough away that there may be significant errors in their initial locations.  The five portable stations deployed by AZGS in the past few days should give us more detailed subsurface velocity information so we can recalculate these events and more accurately determine their locations.


Studying the Duncan M5.2 aftershocks: What can we learn?



The Arizona Geological Survey deployed 5 temporary seismic stations [Right.  Photo credit, Jeri Young, AZGS] in the Duncan area of eastern Arizona to better monitor the aftershocks following the June 28th, M 5.2 earthquake.

Monitoring earthquakes in the months following a moderate to larger sized event is an opportunity to gain knowledge about the how the Earth’s crust behaves in the area of the main quake. Measureable aftershocks can number in the several hundred.  Additional seismometers in the general area surrounding the main earthquake are needed to correctly estimate the number, size and location of the aftershocks.

Determining aftershock location and timing can provide information on fault rupture geometry (or shape), fault mechanics (type of movement) and provide insight into regional stresses. All of this information can be used to estimate the seismic hazard, and therefore help communities prepare themselves for future events.

Guest post by Jeri Young, AZGS