Today marks the 7th anniversary of "Arizona Geology" and the start of my 8th year of blogging. During those seven years, I've made 3,846 posts, and the site has drawn well over 1.3 million page views (I didn't start tracking views until almost a year and a half into blogging). In 2013 I made only 270 posts, down from 440 in 2012 and 713 in 2011. I have over 100 draft posts waiting to be completed. This slower pace is likely to continue in 2014 for a couple of reasons. The main problem is finding time. As AZGS has grown and we've moved into a soft money environment (we nearly tripled in size during this time and we now raise over 90% of our budget each year from external sources, competing for funds on a national level), I am increasingly consumed working on projects needed to keep the agency running.
Second, the social media world continues to evolve. Many of the things I used to post about are now being shared, probably more effectively, on our Facebook page and via our Twitter feed, managed by AZGS Extension Service Chief, Mike Conway. For example, our Facebook page, for last week had ~ 5,518 views, 711 people engaged, with 209 “talking about this”. Facebook 'likes" rose to 1,725, which is not bad for a slow, holiday week. Twitter followers climbed to 1,878.
Each year on the anniversary, I repost my first entry, describing my goals and vision for blogging. Reading it over again, they are just as relevant today as they were on January 1, 2007. I said this was an experiment then, and that is still true. It's now part of a larger experiment but still seems to be achieving the goals I laid out at the start.
Thanks to you for making this a rewarding experience. Here's post #1:
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
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
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.
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
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.
State Geologist and Director
Arizona Geological Survey