Saturday, March 29, 2014

Is this a teachable moment for dealing with natural hazards?

The ABC Evening News tonight led with a story about the magnitude 5.1 earthquake that hit the Los Angeles basin tonight that was widely felt with modest damage.  The next story reported on the continued search for victims in the Oso, Washington landslide. [Right, Oso landslide. Credit, Dave Norman, State Geologist, Washington Dept. of Natural Resources]  Then, still in the first half of the news, they showed a sinkhole in Michigan as the start of a quick assessment of sinkholes nationwide.

Three compelling geologic hazards stories on the national news in less than 15 minutes.

The new issue of Time magazine (April 7) has a two-page aerial photo of the Washington landslide and companion article subtitled, "A deadly disaster in Washington drives home the danger posed by landslides."    They say that "landslides are the most widespread natural hazard - all 50 states face at least some risk."    Landslides kill 25+ Americans each year on average and cause $1-2 billion in damage according to Time.

We can't agree more.    Calls for national landslide hazards assessments have been made for the past decades without much action.  The issues and solutions are pretty much unchanged.   Action plans sit on shelves ready to be implemented. 

Is the Oso slide the "teachable moment" we need or as the news attention wanes, will we go back to business as normal?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Crowd of potential buyers examining Augusta Resources (Rosemont Copper)

Augusta Resources, parent of the Rosemont Copper project, revealed today that "Nine interested parties, including a number of significant industry players, have signed confidentiality agreements and have been conducting an extensive review of the materials in Augusta's electronic data room.  The Company will commence the process of site visits to its Rosemont Copper Project next week and expects that the site visits will take place largely over the next three to four week period."  [Right, artists concept of the proposed Rosemont copper mine. Credit, Rosemont Copper]

The Augusta Board of Directors has recommended that shareholders reject Canadian mining company HudBay's unsolicited buy-out of the company, arguing it is undervalued and predatory, given expectations that permits to begin mining at the Rosemont property will be issued soon.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Small quake in northwest Arizona on Saturday

Northwest Arizona had a small earthquake at about 4:30 a.m. local time on Saturday morning. The magnitude 2.2 event was 13 miles east of Beaver Dam, Arizona.    [Right, orange star marks the epicenter.  Red lines are active faults. Credit, USGS]

Sunday, March 23, 2014

CO2 sequestration potential in Arizona's Cedar Mesa Sandstone

AZGS has published another report in our series of assessments of the potential for geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. This latest report examines the Permian-aged Cedar Mesa Sandstone in the northeast part of the state.     There are large coal-fired power plants in the area that may need to find ways to dispose of CO2 generated by burning the coal for electricity.  [Right, geologic map showing study area.  Black squares indicate power plants.  Credit, AZGS]

The report is posted online in the AZGS Document Repository for free viewing and downloading.  
The publication summary notes:
Northeastern Arizona encompasses the southwestern part of the Colorado Plateau, an area of gently dipping to slightly tilted Paleozoic and Mesozoic strata that include porous and permeable sandstone units. The Lower Permian Cedar Mesa Sandstone was identified for study as a potential target for CO2 sequestration in order to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. The Cedar Mesa Sandstone is overlain by the impermeable Organ Rock Formation, which is necessary to prevent escape of sequestered CO2. The salinity of groundwater in the Cedar Mesa Sandstone is unknown, but must be determined before CO2 can be sequestered because CO2 sequestration is not permitted in potable groundwater under current regulatory conditions. Well logs for 755 drill holes were used to evaluate the extent, depth, and thickness of subsurface formations. ESRI® ArcMap™ software was then used to calculate the volume of the Cedar Mesa Sandstone where the top of the unit is below 3000 feet (915 meters) depth, which is the minimum depth necessary for CO2 sequestration where the CO2 is under sufficient pressure to remain in a dense, nearliquid state. Well logs were used to evaluate porosity, which was then used to calculate the amount of pore space that is theoretically available for CO2 storage (the effective porosity). We calculate that there are between 30 km3 and 80 km3 of pore space in the Cedar Mesa Sandstone. The fraction of pore-space volume that is accessible to CO2 injection is estimated to be approximately 0.5% to 5%. Applying this storage efficiency to the Cedar Mesa Sandstone indicates that 0.15 km3 to 4.3 km3 of pore space is accessible to injected CO2, and that 0.114 to 3.24 billion tonnes of CO2 could be sequestered in this pore space at a density of approximately 750 kg/m3. 
Ref:  Rauzi, S. L. and Spencer J.E., 2014, An evaluation of carbon dioxide sequestration potential of the Permian Cedar Mesa Sandstone, northeastern Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey Open File Report, OFR-14-03, 22 p.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Call for papers - 9th Annual AEG Student Night

An Event for All Arizona Students and Professionals in Geology, Groundwater, Environmental & Engineering Geology, Geotechnical Engineering and Geological Engineering Fields

The Arizona Sections of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists (AEG) and the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG), and the Arizona Hydrological Society (AHS) are co-hosting the Ninth Annual Arizona AEG meeting on April 15, 2014 from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM in the Memorial Union at Arizona State University. This event provides students studying in the many fields of applied geology with opportunities to meet professionals in practice, network with others in the geosciences and make presentations on their current research projects or other work.

Highlights for students attending the meeting will include:
  • Great networking opportunities
  • FREE DINNER! – Student dinners are paid for by the AEG, AIPG and AHS professional members, and industry sponsors.
  • Opportunity for students to present their research and projects via poster session or formal oral presentation to industry professionals, faculty and students from other departments and schools in Arizona.
  • $200, $100 or $50 cash prizes for the top 3 student oral presentations, and $25 each for the top 2 poster presentations.
CALL FOR PAPERS: Students interested in presenting their research and projects at the meeting should submit an abstract (300 words or less) of their proposed presentation via email to Nasser Hamdan at the address below NO LATER THAN 5 pm on Thursday, March 27, 2013. Upon receipt of all abstracts submitted by the deadline, approximately 3-4 will be selected for oral presentation at the meeting (with one possible alternate). Those selected will be notified by April 10, 2013. All selected final presentations must be in PowerPoint format and must not exceed 12 minutes presentation time--3-5 minutes for questions will be allowed. All students who submit abstracts and are not selected for formal oral presentations at the meeting are encouraged to create a poster or other still graphic for display and presentation during the poster session.

Please RSVP by April 4th

Tentative Schedule of Events:
5:30-7:00 pm Networking & Poster Session
7:00-7:45 pm Buffet Style Dinner
7:45-8:45 pm Student Presentations
8:45-9:00 pm Award Presentations

For further information and to RSVP, please contact:
Nasser Hamdan, Student Liaison, Arizona AEG
Phone: 480-221-2910480-221-2910

Free webinars for household water well owners

Our friends at the National Ground Water Association are offering 3 FREE webinars for household water well owners scheduled for April 2, 9 and 17. Registration links are below.

Groundwater Protection: How You Can Protect Your Well Water Quality
April 2nd, 1 p.m. Eastern Time / 10 a.m. Arizona time (MST)

Presenter: Tom Christopherson is the program manager for Nebraska’s Water Well Standards and Contractors’ Licensing Program for the Department of Health and Human Services. A licensed water well drilling and pump installation contractor, he has more than 25 years of hands-on field experience, complemented by his 12 years in water regulation enforcement and inspection.

In this webinar, you will learn about some of the common causes of preventable groundwater contamination and actions you can take to protect your groundwater-supplied drinking water from contamination.

Water Well Maintenance: Where Do You Begin?
April 9th, 1 p.m. Eastern Time/ 10 a.m. Arizona time (MST)

Registration link:

Presenter: Gary Hix is a registered geologist, certified well driller and pump installer, and immediate past president of the Arizona Water Well Association.

Water wells are expertly engineered systems that sometimes require maintenance. Learn how to stay on top of maintenance needs to protect water quality.

Water Well Flooding: What Do You Do?
April 17th, 1 p.m. Eastern Time / 10 a.m. Arizona time (MST)
Registration link:

Presenter: Michael Schnieders is a professional geologist and hydrologist, and senior consultant for Water Systems Engineering in Ottawa, Kansas.

In this Webinar, you will learn what to do and not to do if your well is infiltrated by flood waters. You will learn how best to restore your water quality and the functioning of your water well system.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Small quake in Lake Mead

A magnitude 2.4 earthquake occurred under Lake Mead earlier this week (Tuesday, March 18 at 2:30 pm local time).  [Right, orange star marks epicenter.  Red lines are active faults.  Credit, USGS]

Monday, March 17, 2014

Arizona Geological Society announces student poster competition

Second Annual Arizona Geological Society Doug Shakel Memorial Student Poster Event
The AGS will host a special meeting on Thursday April 24, 2014 in Tempe at the Embassy Suites Hotel (address - 4400 South Rural Road; located at  the intersection of South Rural Road and the Superstition Freeway, which is one mile due South of the ASU campus).

Prizes to be awarded: 

First Prize: $500; Second Prize $250; Third Prize $100; Three honorable mentions at $50. 
Special geological gifts will be given to each entrant.


6:00-7:00 PM: Viewing of posters during the social hour. (Judging will begin as the student hangs his or her poster.)

7:00-8:00:  Dinner is FREE for students who make a reservation by calling 520-663-5295 or registering at no later than April 17.Students are encouraged to sign up for free AGS membership at the meeting. Please bring a student ID with you. Students who are not presenting a poster are also welcome and will receive a free dinner.

7:00-9:00: Students give a brief (3 minute) oral presentation, summarizing their poster.
9:30: Presentation of prizes.

More information and online registration: Second Annual Arizona Geological Society Doug Shakel Student Poster Event