Sunday, November 30, 2014

Geosciences role in making Tucson the "Science City"

The University of Arizona's 28-page supplement in Sunday's Arizona Daily Star newspaper is one of the many high-profile activities taken by the school to build Tucson's reputation as "Science City."   This now annual feature showcases a wide range of science research and programs that Joaquin Ruiz, Vice President of Innovation & Strategy, Dean of the College of Science, and Professor of Geosciences, says "must be relevant both internationally and to our home community."

This year's edition includes reports from a few geoscientists, including Peter DeCelles describing work on the structure and tectonics in the Himalayas to unravel how mountains and basins form, Matthew Salzer reporting on the use of tree rings to track changes in the Earth's climate going back nearly 5,000 years, Thomas Zega discussing studies of microscopic stardust to understand the origin of the Milky Way and our solar system, and Jon Pelletier's work on predicting post-wildfire erosion better.  Jon's work has direct application to work we are doing at AZGS to predict and mitigate debris flows and related hazards following wildfires.

You can sign up to receive the UA Science biweekly e-newsletter at [right]

Friday, November 28, 2014

ASU prof maps geology of asteroid Vesta

A new geologic map of the asteroid Vesta has been published by Arizona State University planetary scientist David Williams and his colleagues. It's online in the December special issue of the journal Icarus on The Geology of Vesta.

They propose a chronostratigraphic scheme and geologic timescale for Vesta with four periods based on major impact events.  The conclude that the proposed vestan geologic timescale is comparable to those developed for other airless terrestrial planets, and Vesta’s youngest period is not based on rayed craters, due to different space weathering.

Ref: D.A. Williamsa, R. Jaumannb, H.Y. McSween Jr., S. Marchie, N. Schmedemann, C.A. Raymond, C.T. Russell, "The chronostratigraphy of protoplanet Vesta,"Icarus, Volume 244, December 2014, Pages 158–165

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Opening for UA Mineral Museum Collections Manager

The University of Arizona Mineral Museum looking for a full-time, permanent position, collections manager. The mineral museum is located in the Flandreau Science Center [right] on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson as part of the Department of Geosciences.Duties include managing current mineral collections, museum displays, outreach programs and the day to day operations of museum. 

Requirements includ a Bachelor's degree in Geosciences or related field; or experience working with display minerals. Candidates must have knowledge of minerals and the collector community.  Review begins December 1, 2014.  [bottom right, from the Bisbee exhibit. Credit, UA Mineral Museum]

The announcement is posted at

[excerpted in part from the UA announcement]

Appeal filed to lift federal ban on uranium claims, exploration in northern Arizona

Reuters reports that the National Mining Association and the American Exploration and Mining Association filed an appeal late on Tuesday with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, to overturn last month's decision by U.S. District Judge David Campbell that the U.S. Interior Secretary was empowered under federal law "to err on the side of caution in protecting a national treasure - Grand Canyon national park" by banning new uranium claims and exploration in northern Arizona outside the park.

Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar imposed the 20-year ban on nearly 1 million acres of federally managed lands in 2012. [Right, withdrawal areas outlined in red. Credit, BLM]

Helium exploration geologist position open in Phoenix

Exploration for helium in Arizona heated up this year with two wells drilled in the Holbrook area where it was produced for decades. [Right, AZGS map of helium fields in Arizona] One of our correspondents passed along a new job posting for a Phoenix-based geologist to help with helium exploration in the region.
Progressive Global Energy & Natural Resources posted the job notice on on November 14 (Job Reference1041244).
Job Description:
Our client, is in the business of addressing the supply of helium to industry, government, medical and the research communities. Our client, has accumulated working interests in oil and gas lease holdings composed of more than 35,000 acres in a geographic region that historically has been recognized to contain some of the highest helium concentrations found. The extent of our clients recoverable helium reserves will be identified by drilling and third party engineering analysis. The fields will be developed through production well drilling and completion, infrastructure gathering system and processing equipment construction.

Our client is located in Phoenix, Arizona and is looking for an experienced Exploration Geologist to participate in this exciting opportunity.
  • 15+ years of experience as an Exploration Geologist
  • -experience working in gas field
  • -prospect generation
  • -cross sections
  • -mapping
  • -field development
  • -well planning

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

New president of Nevada Mining Association has Arizona ties

The new president of the Nevada Mining Association has extensive ties to Arizona.

The Association announced that Dana Bennett [right, Linkedin photo], the former regional director of the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development and current owner of Bennett Historical Research Services, will become President of NVMA effective Dec. 1.

Bennette received her doctorate in history from Arizona State University, worked in historical research and policy analysis with Morrison Institute for Public Policy in Phoenix, and was a Research Historian with Arizona State Archives.

Arizona and Nevada have traded positions in recent years as the number one non-fuel mining state in the country, with Nevada in first place when gold prices are high.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

M3.5 quake near Sedona is felt locally; preceded by foreshocks

Residents in the Sedona-Flagstaff area report feeling a magnitude 3.5 earthquake that hit about 6 - 10(?) miles north-northeast of Sedona at 2:19 a.m. local time this morning. 

Dr. Jeri Young, who runs the Arizona Broadband Seismic Network here at AZGS, reports there were two smaller events in the area prior to the quake and one aftershock. The foreshocks were at 12:25 and 12:39 a.m. and the aftershock at 9:04 a.m. today.

She also says her preliminary epicenter location is further north, near the Munds Park fault, which may explain why so few people have thus far reported feeling the shaking.  [Above, red star marks the USGS located epicenter, the labelled red circle is the AZGS-ABSN location.  Credit, ABSN]

P.K. (Rana) Medhi

The Arizona Geological Society reports that "Long-time AGS member P. K. (Rana) Medhi [photo credit, AGS] passed away Nov. 7, 2014 at his home in Casa Grande. Medhi, former chairman of the Board of Governors of the Arizona Dept. of Mines and Mineral Resources, former adjunct professor of geology at Central Arizona College, and former Governor of the Mining Foundation of the Southwest retired in 1994 after 28 years at Cyprus Amax Minerals Company. He had a M.S. degree from the University of Arizona and was a certified professional geologist and an Arizona - registered geologist; he worked as an independent mining and exploration geologist after his retirement."

On a personal note, Rana played a key role in preserving the historical mining records and other assets of the Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources when they shut down in 2011 due to a budget shortfall.  With an hour to go before the agency closed, he signed an agreement to make AZGS temporary custodian of the materials, until the Legislature could approve the merger of the agencies.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Aftershock felt in Duncan area

Local residents reported feeling an aftershock to the Duncan earthquake on at 7:38 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 21.    The USGS posted the location for the event today, with a magnitude of 2.8.  This is the first aftershock felt in the area for many weeks.  The M=5.3 Duncan earthquake hit the eastern Arizona locale on June 28.   [Right, orange star marks aftershock epicenter.  Credit, USGS]

AZGS has posted an article online describing the main shock and our deployment of a temporary portable seismic array to locate and measure the hundreds of aftershocks -

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How did we miss this story about vampires in abandoned mines in Arizona?

Well, Arizona, it looks like we had a chance to rid Arizona of vampires in our abandoned mines, but we blew it.   

Joe Hart won re-election as State Mine Inspector  a couple weeks back with over 1 million votes or 98.29% of the votes cast.   There was no organized opposition, but write-in votes totaled 18,312.  The Secretary of State's office has not posted who got those write-ins but I wonder if some of them didn't go to write-in candidate Ian Kobe who ran on a campaign of "No Arizona Mine Draculas."

His Facebook site (his only campaign outlet?) says "A vote for Ian Kobe is a vote for an AZ with less Draculas!" [sic] and laments that children cannot play in abandoned copper mines because Joe Hart has not cleaned out the vampire dens.

I know and work with Joe. I interviewed him on our video magazine "Arizona Mining Review" and I have to admit, never once has he mentioned vampires, let alone vampires in mines, active or abandoned. Joe, all I can say is that I'm speechless!

And the Arizona news media, obviously beholden to the pro-vampire community, ignored this burning issue in the Mine Inspector's race.  I had to read the Chicago Sun Times to find out about it.   


And all this raises the question that if the mines are full of vampires, can zombies be far behind?

So kids, you're going to have to stay out of those old mines for a while longer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grand Canyon North Rim quake

A magnitude 2.9 earthquake occurred  shortly after noon today on the north side of Grand Canyon.  The USGS placed the epicenter about 19 miles northwest of Grand Canyon Village, but Dr. Jeri Young who runs the Arizona Broadband Seismic Network here at AZGS, places it further northeast. [Right, red star marks USGS epicenter.   The red circle marked "112114" marks the AZGS location]

Jeri used 3 of Northern Arizona University's nearby analog seismic stations and a different crustal velocity model than the USGS model.     However, they  used 42 phases and we used only 9 in making the calculation, so we are not sure which is the more accurate location.