Sunday, January 01, 2012

The 5th anniversary of "Arizona Geology"

Today marks the 5th anniversary of this blog and as has become somewhat of a custom on these occasions, I'm reprinting the very first post on Arizona Geology from January 1, 2007. The driving forces that prompted me to start blogging remain the same as they were five years ago. Some of the issues of the day have evolved or been subsumed by new developments, but many of them continue almost unchanged. So, here is blog post #1. It comes with a renewal of commitment and enthusiasm for 2012. Thanks to all of you who post comments or share your thoughts privately. I appreciate the support, the corrections, the elaborations, and the new insights. Happy New Year!

Arizona lives and dies by its geology

Arizonans depend on groundwater for life, minerals to build our communities and create jobs, and amazing geologic scenery for tourism and our own enjoyment. Arizona recently became the fastest growing state in the nation, putting increased demands on our natural resources and reigniting concerns about the environmental impact of all this growth. Then there are natural disasters such as floods, landslides, debris flows, earth fissures, and earthquakes that threaten our homes and lives.

On top of that, our university geology programs are among the best in the country. We are the number one mining state in the nation and global demand for copper and uranium are drawing renewed interest in mineral exploration. The State's expanded Renewable Portfolio Standard, requiring 15% of our electricity to come from renewable energy sources, is generating re-examination of our geothermal resources.

Clearly, understanding our geology is critical to all Arizonans. Yet, one of the things I noticed when I came to Tucson a year ago is the fragmented nature of news coverage around Arizona. There is no state-wide newspaper or tv news. As a result, important geology-related news reported in one metropolitan area is often ignored elsewhere around the state.

The intersection of all this creates a need for collecting and sharing current activities, news, and opinions in the geosciences within the Arizona earth science community and to broader audiences. So, this site is an experiment.

My job as State Geologist of Arizona encompasses different responsibilities from my task as Director of the Arizona Geological Survey, giving me reign to work to ensure a healthy, dynamic, and robust earth science enterprise to benefit the State and the profession.

Within that scope, I'd like to try using this forum to
1. share news, ideas, opinions, and help foster a greater community sense in the geosciences,
2. reach out to the larger community to let them know how the geosciences affect all our lives, and
3. re-engage the public in better understanding of the nature and process of science.

Lee Allison
State Geologist and Director
Arizona Geological Survey


  1. Thank you for this blog and your wonderful wealth of information. As a student new to the subject I have found your writing to be a resource for both school and leisure!

  2. Congratulations on this milestone. Your blog rocks! Literally.

  3. Lee—I truly enjoy following your blog, and I've used it regularly in my teaching. Congratulations and thank you!

  4. Anonymous7:50 PM

    Lee - Your blog is such a great resource. I read it almost every day. Thank you for providing the geologic and related sciences information. Congratulations on five years!!!

  5. Anonymous3:27 PM

    Lee, I am new to this site. I have a question. Where can I find a geological description of the Westwing Mtn. in Peoria and its old Hohokam quarry?

  6. I'm sorry, but we haven't found any info on this in our files.