Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Springtime in the Sonoran desert

Our back yard in the Tucson Mountains

Museum transfer bill approved by House; back to Senate for final consideration

SB1200, the bill to transfer the former mineral museum to AZGS to convert into a natural resources education center, passed the Arizona House today, on a vote of 58-2. It now goes back to the Senate for reconsideration because of the amendments added.  [right, diorama of an open pit mine from the former Mining & Mineral Museum]

Saturday, March 28, 2015

3rd Annual Arizona Geological Society Doug Shakel Memorial Student Poster Event

Third Annual Arizona Geological Society Doug Shakel Memorial Student Poster Event
The AGS will host a special meeting on Saturday, April 18, 2015 at the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building #4 (ISTB-4) on the Arizona State University campus (781 South Terrace Road,  Tempe , Arizona  85281).
Prizes to be awarded: 

First Prize: $500; Second Prize $250; Third Prize $150; Three honorable mentions at $50. 
Special geological gifts will be given to each entrant.

8:00 AM: Students arrive at the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building #4 and mount their posters on poster boards. The event will be held in the third floor lobby, better known as the Crater Carpet. Appropriate tacks will be provided. (No more taped posters falling off the walls!) Parking is free on Saturdays in the big parking garage next door. (See Google map)
8:30 AM - 9:30 AM: Viewing of posters and beginning of judging by Carl Bowser, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin, Madison; Nyal Niemuth, Chief, Phoenix Branch Manager and Mineral Exploration, Mining, and Economic Geology;  and Gordon Haxel. Scientist Emeritus, U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff.
9:30 AM - 9:45 AM: Coffee break
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM: 3-minute oral summaries of each poster by each presenter.
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM: Buffet Lunch (free for students, whether or not they present a poster if they make a reservation). 
Those attending the Buffet Lunch must make reservations no later than 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2015. 
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM:  Tour of the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building and the showing of some nifty science films in the IMAX-like theater.
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM:  Presentation of awards for the best posters.

Please call or email Bob Kamilli if you have any questions:
Office Phone: 520-670-5576;
Cell phone: 520-349-9336 

Here are some important details for students, who wish to participate in this event. 
Registratation for the Buffet Lunch must be made no later the 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Copper is the official metal of Arizona

Governor Doug Ducey today signed legislation making copper the official metal of the state of Arizona.  [Right, copper plates produced in Arizona. Credit, Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold]

According to the announcement from the governor's office, Senate Bill 1441 was sponsored by State Senator Steve Smith after a fourth-grade class at Copper Creek Elementary School in Tucson had the idea and reached out to him about it.

“These students helped create a bill that had bipartisan support and will now be forever part of Arizona’s history,” said Governor Ducey. “A crucial driver of our economy, copper is represented on our state seal and is one of Arizona’s ‘5 C’s’ along with climate, cattle, citrus and cotton.

Arizona produces nearly 2/3 of all the copper used in the U.S. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Battle over museum transfer heats up

The bill to transfer the former Mining & Mineral Museum from the Arizona Historical Society to the Arizona Geological Survey is generating heated debate.   Although both AHS and AZGS have taken official neutral positions on SB1200, supporters and opponents are squaring off.  [Right, artists rendition for the proposed Centennial Museum to be built in the former museum space The building is currently vacant.]   The Arizona Capitol Times posted the most detailed report on the museum transfer published so far, by reporter Rachel Leingang at

The Friends of the Arizona Historical Society circulated a letter urging opposition to the bill, arguing 
  • The Historical Society is efficiently and effectively maintaining the Mining and Mineral Museum  and it should stay where it is.
  •  Leaving the Museum where it is currently will allow it to progress and flourish.
  • It makes sense and is good government for the Museum to stay with the state agency that runs museums.   
The lobbyist for AHS also raised the issue with the House Appropriations Committee that AZGS does not run museums.

Proponents of the transfer sharply disputed the claims in the letter from the Friends of the AHS during the same hearing, particularly the statement that AHS inherited a museum that was already closed.   In fact, AHS took the Mining and Mineral Museum in 2010 and shut it down in 2011 in anticipation of converting it to the Centennial Museum.

Today, the proponents started a petition drive aimed at the Governor, calling on allies to counter the letters and calls coming from the other side.

In an email sending around the petition that we received this afternoon, supporters are told:

"Feel free to print copies and get signatures wherever you can. At work or at school.  In the supermarket or stuck in traffic.  On the golf course, or at the gym.  Chase down the fishing boat or ATV ahead of you this weekend.

Put some on telephone poles and restroom walls.  Ask K Mart and Costco to put it on their bulletin board. Have kids give one to the teacher. Take some along when you walk the dog (possible dual use). Offer prison inmates a cigarette for a signature. Tell the kids they don't have to do their homework if they sign. Tell the mail man you will never let the dog out again if he / she signs. Ring doorbells and tell people they won the Readers Digest Sweepstakes (just sign here).

Be creative. Be sneaky. Be determined. BE SUCCESSFUL"
 SB1200 must now go to the full House for consideration.