Friday, May 26, 2017

AZGS mine files spurs silver exploration in Arizona’s Plomosa Mountains

Ramsey Mine ca. 1987
Imagine a room crowded with file cabinets whose drawers are stuffed with 100,000s of pages of unpublished mine reports, correspondence, geologic maps, mine maps, drill hole data, rock chemistry, and assay results for more than 20,000 mines in Arizona. That room once existed at the Arizona Dept. of Mines and Mineral Resources. Neither the room nor the Department still exists. But the data lives on digitally, free for all to explore, discover, and download at the AZGS Mining Data site.

Ramsey Mine Map
In 2014, Greg Hahn of Arizona Silver Exploration (ASE) stumbled on to 100s of unpublished pages at the mining data site for the Ramsey Mine in the Plomosa Mining District in western Arizona’s La Paz County.  From the AZGS Mining data files, Greg discovered, “Forty one holes around the periphery of the Ramsey mine intercepted mineralization. I was intrigued by the data. I wanted to see what else was out there… “ By 2016, Greg and his ASE team had their own exploration project at the Ramsey Mine underway, complete with a funded drilling program.

ASE now holds over 1,000 acres of land and their drilling project, informed by results of earlier drilling reported at the AZGS Mining Data Site, is moving towards fruition.
A short note at ‘Proactiveinvestors: USA and Canada’ has additional information on ASE exploration program.  

AZGS Mining Data Site is the result of a Herculean scanning, digitizing, and metadata construction program by Nyal Niemuth, Casey Brown, and Diane Bain, all former employees of the Arizona Geological Survey. As former, long-time employees of the Arizona Dept. of Mines and Mineral Resources, Nyal and Diane played a major role in collecting and curating the mine documents that make up the AZGS Mining Data site.  
Posted 5/26/2017

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Revisiting the 2006 debris flow of Santa Catalina Mountains

Bouldery debris flow levee, Santa Catalina Mtns. 

Historic rainfall precipitates 100s of debris flows | For five days in late July 2006, the mountains of southern Arizona received unusually heavy rainfall.  A final burst of precipitation on the morning of 31 July produced over 400 hillslope failures in the Santa Catalina Mountains of Pima County (Fig. 1).  In drainages near Sabino Canyon, a popular hiking and tourist destination, masses of unconsolidated soil, rock and vegetation coalesced into debris-flows that traveled to the mouths of several canyons.  

Fortunately, the 2006 debris-flows did not result in any injuries. There was, however, considerable damage to some canyon roads, outbuildings, and hiking trails.  At Gibbon, Soldier, and Bird Canyons debris flows nearly reached or spilled out of canyon mouths. The 2006 debris-flows were much larger than any that had occurred historically in the Santa Catalina Mountains, raising new concerns about the potential for damage to roads and homes near many canyon mouths in the Catalina Foothills.  

Map showing distribution and ages of debris flows.
Debris flows have occurred before and will occur again at the canyon mouths of the Catalina foothills. (Phil Pearthree, then AZGS chief of environmental geology.)

Mapping Shows 20,000-year History of Debris Flow Activity | In addressing homeowners concerns, the Pima County Regional Flood Control District contracted  the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) and the US Geological Survey (USGS) to map and date debris-flow deposits in 15 canyons along the southern face of the Santa Catalina Mountains  (Fig. 2).  AZGS research scientist Ann Youberg headed a team of mappers to produce high resolution, 1:6,000-scale maps on a color aerial photographic base. (At 1:6,000-scale, one inch on the map equals 500 feet on the ground.)

This post was cribbed from "A 20,000 year record of debris flows in the Santa Catalina Mountains of southern, Arizona". 
Posted 5/20/2017

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Zn-Pb-Ag Mining Prospect in Patagonia Mtns, AZ: Ramping up!

Drilling at Taylor Deep. (Courtesy of Arizona Mining)
According to a story in the Northern Miner, Arizona Mining is planning for substantial Zn production, ~ 9,100 tonnes ore/day, as early as 2020. Pending permitting.

The Taylor Deep discovery, situated 50 miles SE of Tucson, involves underground mining of zinc, lead, and silver from mineralized carbonates.

According to the article by Matthew Keevil,  'Arizona completed 70 surface diamond drill holes at Taylor in a 2016–2017 program that targeted stratabound carbonate-replacement resources. The deposit is a down-dip sulphide extension of the Hermosa Central silver-manganese oxide project, which sits in the Patagonia Mountains, ... .'

The article is available online at the Northern Miner

Posted 5/17/2017

Monday, May 15, 2017

Update: Arizona Reservoir Volume Status Spring 2017

As we head into summer here is a quick look at the state of Arizona's reservoirs at the end of February 2017. It was a good winter for recharge and the smaller reservoirs are faring well. Not so much, the Colorado River's Lake Mead and Powell. 

Reservoir data courtesy of CLIMAS - Climate Assessment for the Southwest. 
Posted 5/15/2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Trump Exe. Order could impact four AZ National Monuments

On 26 April 2017, President Trump signed an executive order requiring the Department of the Interior to review national monuments comprising more than 100,000 acres and created since 1996. This review involves 20 national monuments.

Physiographic features of Vermilion Cliffs Natl. Monument
In Arizona that includes:
  • Grand Canyon - Parashant National Monument 
  • Ironwood National Monument
  • Saguaro National Monument
  • Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.
President Trump's executive order includes an ambitious timeline:
  1. 'Within 45 days of the date of this order, the Secretary shall provide an interim report to the President ... . '
  2. ' Within 120 days of the date of this order, the Secretary shall provide a final report to the President' .
The Dept. of the Interior seeks public comments; 'Comments may be submitted online after May 12 at by entering “DOI-2017-0002” in the Search bar and clicking “Search,” or by mail to Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240.'

For more information and analysis: 
NPR Article:   
Posted 5/13/2017

Saturday, May 06, 2017

AZGS Stakeholders: Arizona Geological Survey state-allocated funding of $941,000 reinstated

6 May 2017

Dear Supporters and Colleagues:

On 5 May, 2017, Gov. Ducey signed the FY 2018 budget bill passed the previous day by the Senate and the House. This bill includes funding of $941,000 for AZGS, so as of 1 July we will once again receive state-allocated funds to perform our duties as detailed in state statute. In addition, language in the budget bill directs the Office of Strategic Planning & Budgeting to include the same level of funding in the base budgets they develop for the next 2 fiscal years.

In January 2017, Sen. Gail Griffin introduced SB 1184 to re-establish the Arizona Geological Survey’s (AZGS) state-allocated funds of $941,000. The bill sailed through the Arizona Senate in February, and as budget negotiations continued, eventually it passed House with overwhelming support and was incorporated into the legislature’s FY2018 budget. This success was led by Sen. Griffin’s determined efforts, with broad support in the House and the Senate. Previous and on-going research, investigations, and information dissemination by AZGS staff in the areas of mineral resources, natural hazards, and the geologic framework of Arizona, and strong support from our stakeholders regarding the importance of geology to society, made the case for renewed state funding.

A return of base funding assures that we will continue to serve, inform, and benefit Arizonans with these programs:

> geologic mapping
> geologic resource assessment
> geologic hazards investigations
> geoinformatics – digital geologic data
> outreach and education

Challenges – Rebuilding AZGS Staff & Resources. We face substantial challenges in rebuilding our staff and fleshing out our physical assets, but this base appropriation makes this very manageable. We will continue to seek external grants to leverage our base funding, develop our programs, and produce maps and reports to benefit Arizona.

In fall 2017, we plan to collaborate with colleagues at UA’s Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, the Dept. of Geosciences, and the Dept. of Mining and Engineering to bring on a field-oriented economic geologist. The objective is to re-establish an economic geology program that is integrated into our mapping program and can help to understand and assess Arizona’s mineral resources. This will assist decision-makers at the local, state and national level in making informed decisions on the sustainable use of our natural resources.

We wholeheartedly thank Sen. Gail Griffin for introducing and championing SB1184; she worked tirelessly on behalf of AZGS, and we are deeply grateful. We also thank Steve Trussell, Executive Director of the Arizona Rock Products Association, for his long effort to inform and advise state legislators about the importance of our work to Arizona. The friendship and advice of Sen. Griffin and Steve Trussell over the past two years has been invaluable. We also acknowledge the incredible importance of Lee Allison’s leadership of the Survey from 2005-2016; Lee was an unparalleled advocate for the importance of geology to society, he led us through good times and difficult times, and constantly looked for new ways to demonstrate the value of the AZGS to society.

We thank legislators of the Arizona Senate and House for their overwhelming support for a budget allocation for AZGS, and to Governor Ducey for agreeing to this allocation. Last, we thank our stakeholders in government, the mining industry, the geotechnical and hydrological communities, and the public for their continued support of AZGS programs.

We’ll keep you informed of our progress.

Thank you!


Philip A. Pearthree, Ph.D. Director and State Geologist
Arizona Geological Survey,  University of Arizona
520 621 2444

Monday, May 01, 2017

Gov. Ducey signs bill transferring the former AZ Mining & Mineral Museum to Univ. of Arizona

Polly Rosenbaum Bldg. Phoenix
On Friday, 28 April 2017, Gov. Doug Ducey signed SB1415 transferring the Polly Rosenbaum Bldg. and the physical assets of the former Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum (AMMM) to the University of Arizona (UA). 

We thank Senator Gail Griffin for championing a natural resources museum on the Government Mall. Sen. Griffin introduced and shepherded SB1415 through the Arizona Legislature and into Gov. Ducey’s hands. Thanks, too, to the organizers of the Earth Science Museum and to the former volunteers of the AMMM for tenaciously supporting reopening a museum dedicated to educating Arizona’s school children.

The assets of the AMMM were managed by the Arizona Historical Society from May 2011 through Aug. 2016, and the ~ 22,000 mineral specimens making up the AMMM collection will remain in storage at the Historical Society’s Heritage Center in Tempe until the UA is ready to receive them.