Sunday, June 25, 2017

Revisiting interactive geochemical & mineralogic maps for soils of U.S.


Copper in soil at 0-5 cm depth
From 2007 to 2010, the U.S. Geological Survey collected soil samples from 4,857 sites throughout the conterminous United States to support the North American Soil Geochemical Landscapes Project.

Hematite (iron oxide) in A Horizon, note enrichment in AZ
The objective was to provide background data for, 'Understanding the variability in the natural abundance and spatial distribution of chemical elements (geochemical background) in the near-surface environment of the Earth is important for such fields as risk-based assessment of contaminated land, environmental regulation, human and animal health, agriculture, land-use planning, mineral exploration, and water quality. Geochemical mapping, conducted at appropriate scales, is the primary method for establishing this variability.' 

To access the interactive soil chemistry map: https://mrdata.usgs.gov/soilgeochemistry/#/periodictable

To access the interactive soil mineralogy map: https://mrdata.usgs.gov/soilgeochemistry/#/mineralogy

USGS Soil Chemistry and Mineralogy publication: https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2014/1082/pdf/ofr2014-1082.pdf

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Building a statewide inventory of landslides in Arizona

Landslide data included in AzSLID
AZGS's ' Building a Statewide Inventory of Landslides in Arizona' is now available on line courtesy of the North American Symposium on Landslides and AEG. 

http://repository.azgs.az.gov/uri_gin/azgs/dlio/1717

From Ann Youberg’s presentation at 2017 NASL, ‘Landslides in Arizona are an under-appreciated geologic hazard. Prior to this project, the nature and extent of landslides was limited to an incomplete array of geologic maps and reports. To address this knowledge and data gap, the AZGS initiated a Landslides Hazards Program. Working with our partner agency, the Arizona Division of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA), we compiled the first comprehensive landslide inventory for the State of Arizona.’

These data should inform land management decision-making by state, tribal, county, and municipal authorities and should benefit the emergency management community in their efforts to communicate landslide hazards and risk to their stakeholders and constituents.

Friday, June 02, 2017

AZGS at 3rd Annual North American Symposium on Landslides – “Slip Slidin’ Away”*

Quaternary landslides (red) near I-17 in central AZ (AzSLID).

Ann Youberg, Senior Research Scientist who oversees the AZGS geologic hazards group, will be participating in the North American Symposium on Landslides in Roanoke, Virginia, next week. The symposium theme is ‘Landslides: Putting Experience, Knowledge and Emerging Technologies into Practice’. The conference runs from 4-8 June; additional information at 2017 NASL.

From the NASL conference page, ‘The main objective of the symposium is to provide a stimulating forum for geoscientists, engineers, planners, economists, program managers, and other decision makers concerned with landslide hazards and their impact on society.’

More than 25 sponsors from industry, science societies, and academia, stepped forward to support the 4-day conference, including: Assn. of Environmental & Engineering Geologists, Geological Society of America, Virginia Tech, Virginia Dept. of Mines, Minerals and Energy, BETA, Canadian Geotechnical Society, International Assn. for Engineering and the Environment, and the Transportation Research Board, among others.

AZGS Role. Ann Youberg will be describing the new statewide landslide database – AzSLID – that AZGS staff have been developing. AZGS’s Joe Cook and Ann Youberg combed geologic maps of Arizona to identify mapped landslides. They then used Google Earth and other aerial imagery to identify hundreds of unmapped landslides, culminating in a database characterizing more than 6,000 landslide features.

From Ann Youberg’s presentation at 2017 NASL, ‘Landslides in Arizona are an under-appreciated geologic hazard. Prior to this project, the nature and extent of landslides was limited to an incomplete array of geologic maps and reports. To address this knowledge and data gap, the AZGS initiated a Landslides Hazards Program. Working with our partner agency, the Arizona Division of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA), we compiled the first comprehensive landslide inventory for the State of Arizona.’

These data should inform land management decision-making by state, tribal, county, and municipal authorities and should benefit the emergency management community in their efforts to communicate landslide hazards and risk to their stakeholders and constituents.

Next Steps for AzSLID. Later this summer, in conjunction with our state partners, notably Arizona Dept. of Emergency Management and Military Affairs, we’ll launch the AzSLID data at the interactive Natural Hazards in Arizona Viewer. Where it joins thematic data for earth fissures, earthquake epicenters and Quaternary faults, floods, and wildfires.

*”Slip Slidin’ Away” courtesy of Paul Simon (1982). 

Posted M Conway (6/2/2017)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Arizona National Monuments currently under review by the Secretary of the Interior

AZGS OFR-04-2017

On 26 April 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to review designations of a number of national monuments established under the Antiquities Act of 1906. Section 2 of that executive order requires the Secretary of the Interior to review all Presidential designations or expansions made under the Antiquities Act since 1 Jan. 1996, “where the designation covers more than 100,000 acres …, or where the Secretary determines that the designation or expansion was made without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders.”

For details on the scope of the review, please see President Trump’s executive order of April 2017. The Secretary of the Interior is to provide the President with an interim report within 45 days, and a final report within 120 days.

In Arizona, the President’s executive order includes four national monuments: 

> Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument – established 11 Jan. 2000 by President W.J. Clinton
> Ironwood Forest National Monument – established 9 June 2000 by President W.J. Clinton
> Sonoran Desert National Monument – established 17 Jan. 2000 by President W.J. Clinton
> Vermilion Cliffs National Monument – established 9 Nov. 2000 by President W.J. Clinton

We compiled foundational information on the scope and nature of the mineral resources for each of the four monuments and published them online at the AZGS Document Repository, ‘Arizona National Monuments Mineral Resources Summaries‘.

Information included in each summary: date established, land management responsibility, footprint (in acres), physiographic elements, basic cultural and mineral resources information, and literature resources.

These one- to two-page summaries are not exhaustive, but they do provide a thumbnail sketch of mineral and other resources, and provide citations for published literature that can be consulted for more details.

For additional information or comments, please feel free to contact Mike Conway at fmconway@email.arizona.edu or 520.621.2352.

Monday, May 29, 2017

AZGS receives $64k to update and publish digital geologic map data



Digital geologic map for Dome Rock, Arizona

The AZGS was notified last week that we will be receiving $64k from the National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program, administered by the USGS, for FY18. We will be supplying the required state match, for a project total of ~$130k. Funding is expected to begin in September 2017. This is an exciting opportunity to continue the very important process of bringing our older digital geologic maps up to modern standards, making the map data available in a variety of formats that are useful for current consumers of geologic data, and establishing a permanent archive for our geologic data and products.
The NGGDPP was created by Congress in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to preserve the geological history of the United States. By funding the preservation of geoscientific data and participation in collaborative efforts focusing on technology and data management, the NGGDPP is advancing the agenda for data preservation and collections management and creating guiding principles for the scientific community in geoscience record keeping. The AZGS participated in this program for about a decade, but our proposal to the program last year was unsuccessful. This year we presented a clear vision to begin to preserve and modernize our digital geologic products, and establish a permanent digital archive through the University of Arizona Library System. The review panel NGGDPP obviously liked these ideas a lot – we have the potential to be a role model for other state geological surveys when we execute the plans outlined in the proposal.
The AZGS has been committed to making its geologic products available to the public online in digital formats for the past decade, but due to severe budget constraints and other dislocations, maintaining repository functionality is an ongoing challenge. The recent transfer of AZGS to the University of Arizona highlighted the potential fragility of our digital data, but it also presented an opportunity to adopt a more stable long-term digital archive. Since 2000, our geologic maps have been constructed using evolving versions of ESRI ArcGIS programs. Advantages to building geologic maps in a digital GIS environment include: 24/7 access to digital PDF versions and GIS data for users with GIS platforms; and, at least theoretically, geologic map data can be updated and new versions of the maps released. All AZGS digital maps are available in static form as PDF files, but older map data are not easily used in modern GIS platforms, and associated geodatabases and supporting data are not consistently available at our online repository. Editing and updating geologic maps has proven to be more problematic due to changing GIS platforms and data structures. This is especially true for maps developed prior to the adoption of the NCGMP09 standard design for the publication of digital maps, which was released in late 2009. With this funding, we will begin to: 1) preserve our historical digital geologic maps, while updating, enhancing and releasing fresh versions of these maps; 2) issue the map data in a suite of formats useful to consumers of geologic and GIS data, while assuring continued public access to our digital geologic data; we will release new geologic maps currently in development in these formats as well; and 3) establish a stable, permanent digital archive of AZGS products in the University of Arizona (UA) Library system.
These are large tasks, but combined with the recent great news about our renewed state appropriation, we expect to be able to substantially improve the quality and accessibility of our digital geologic products in the next few years.

Phil Pearthree
Director AZGS & State Geologist