Sunday, June 26, 2016

Letters, op-eds, and blogs express concern over defunding of geological survey

Geologists and geology advocates are making their opinions known about Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's government consolidation decision to defund the Arizona Geological Survey as of June 30.  The AZGS duties have been handed over to the University of Arizona, which is providing partial funding for one year while the Survey is expected to become fully self supporting from grants and fees for services.Our colleagues and complete strangers are forwarding letters, blog posts, and published articles that they wrote or discovered..

Scientific American blogger Dana Hunter posted a piece on the SciAm blog Rosetta Stone, entitled, "Help Save the Arizona Geological Survey," with the subtitle "The Arizona Geological Survey's budget has been slashed by the state's short-sighted government. There are as many reasons to save the agency as there are geologic wonders, riches and hazards in Arizona. Let the governor know that the AZGS must be fully funded! In this article I'll tell you why it's so important."   She describes the geologic hazards we face in Arizona, that are part of AZGS's duties to identify and mitigate, including volcanoes, landslides, earth fissures, floods, debris flows, earthquakes, radon hot spots, and arsenic in groundwater.  I don't know Dana, but she describes herself as a "science blogger, SF writer, and geology addict."

Matthew Loader, a geologist from the Natural History Museum in London, copied us today on a letter [right] he sent to Gov. Ducey, in which he notes that Arizona's "mineral wealth is of vital strategic importance in the security of the metal supply to the US economy for years to come."  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

AZGSexit moves forward

As Britain exits the European Union, the Arizona Geological Survey is exiting Arizona state government for a new future as a research and service center at the University of Arizona.  We have one year of partial transition funding to become entirely self-supporting from grants and fees for services.

AZGS shut down the retail store on Thursday, emptied out the library of all remaining volumes, and gave away ~25,000 topographic maps in preparation for the physical move that begins on Monday.  There is no room in our campus space for these materials and activities.

The Phoenix office assets were moved to the old mining museum today, with volunteers scheduled to arrive July 5 to transfer the library materials from carts and gondolas to the bookshelves we are sending up from Tucson.

[Top, map users pull topo maps from storage shelves. A non-profit organization took all the remaining maps to make them available for outdoor recreation activities.  Second from top, Stephanie Mar unloads remaining publications from the library shelves in preparation for dismantling and moving them to Phoenix for storage.  Bottom left, most of the library was taken by other libraries, geologists, companies, and interested parties.  The bulk of what remained were old technical journals, mining magazines, and out of date references.   Bottom right, store manager Nancy Greene finishes packing the store for moving to the Phoenix museum to become the basis of a gift shop-store when that facility is re-opened, perhaps in a year or two.]

Friday, June 24, 2016

Nyal Niemuth, the eyes and ears of Arizona mining, retires after 35 years

Nyal Niemuth retired yesterday, after more than 35 years with the State of Arizona, most with the Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources, and the last 5 years with AZGS after the two agencies were merged.   [Photo credit, Mining Foundation of the Southwest]

Nyal served as Chief Engineer at ADMMR and became Chief of the Economic Geology section at AZGS.  He is universally known across Arizona and beyond, as the "go-to" guy to find out what's happening and what's happened in mining and mineral resources in Arizona.  Miners and would-be miners know that if you are exploring or developing mineral resources in Arizona, you want to check in with Nyal first to find what information already exists.

Nyal timed his retirement with the closure of the AZGS Phoenix office as part of the transfer of duties to the University of Arizona.  Nyal is already promising to come back as a volunteer to help move the massive mineral files and library to storage at the old mining and mineral museum near the Capitol in order to preserve them.

For the past 6 months, Nyal also assumed the temporary duties of Oil & Gas Administrator, supporting the Arizona Oil & Gas Conservation Commission.  Those duties are being transferred to the Dept. of Environmental Quality as of July 1.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Crowds swarm AZGS library to pick up publications and maps

AZGS opened its Tucson library, publications storeroom and topographic map room to the public today to take anything they wanted before the office closes next week to move to the University of Arizona. 

Geologists, mining engineers, teachers, students, and science fans hauled off hundreds (thousands?) of books, reports, circulars, geologic maps, and other materials.    The topo map room was crowded all day as people searched among the 2,000+ titles for maps of interest.

Special thanks to volunteers Dan Aiken, Simone Runyon, and J.D. Miser who helped visitors find particular items, helped carry out boxes of books, and guided people to the right basement repository.  
We are surprised at the amount of interest in so many different items in the library including many seemingly obscure mining journals and gray literature materials.

We recognized many consulting and independent geologists who took advantage of the downsizing to add selected items to their professional libraries. 

The state geologic map was a particular hit to the non-scientists.   Lots of families came through with kids in tow.
The giveaway continues through 4 p.m. Thursday.  The AZGS retail store closes permanently at 5 p.m. After that, we will be emptying the library shelves in preparation for dismantling them to send to the Phoenix mineral museum until that facility is reopened.  The bookstore displays and remaining inventory will also be sent to the museum as the basis for the museum gift shop - bookstore.

Impacts reported on the downsizing, transfer of AZGS

As AZGS shuts down our publicly accessible geological libraries in Phoenix and Tucson, "The public sphere of knowledge, the one that anyone can access, shrinks. The private sphere grows and becomes available only to insiders or those who can pay the price" according to a column by Tim Steller in today's Arizona [Tucson] Daily Star.     [Right, volunteers empty the library shelves in Phoenix for storage in anticipation of re-estalbishing the library if the old mining and mineral museum can be re-opened.]

Steller wrote that "It’s true the geological survey is different from typical state agencies, in that it performs research projects and provides information. And when your philosophy of governing is that less is more, then naturally you’ll look askance at oddball offices like this."

We are opening the library and publications store room today to offer remaining books, journals, maps, etc to those who can use them.   Anything remaining by week's end, is likely to be trashed.

Monday, June 20, 2016

AZGS's "Arizona Experience" store closing Friday - everything 50% off

The Arizona Geological Survey store closes on Friday, so we are trying to sell off as much of our inventory, including AZGS publications, as we can.   After that, the fixtures will be moved to the former mining and mineral museum to form the basis for a gift shop/book store when that facility is eventually re-opened.

The store is at 416 W. Congress St. in the State Office Complex in downtown Tucson. Free parking in the rear.  Hours are 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Cyprus Pima Mine mineral display loaned to Patagonia Museum

Volunteers dismantled the mineral display at the AZGS office in Tucson today to move it to the Patagonia Museum. The giant display case has showcased the Cyprus Minerals Pima Mine mineral collection which will be on long term loan in Patagonia.  The Museum is also taking our rock splitter for display.

AZGS is being transferred to the University of Arizona at the end of the month and there is no room for most of the Surveys books, files, maps, store, and other materials.

We are trying  to find homes for everything we can't take with us.

Online version of "Ores & Orogenesis" drawing lots of views

We posted the Ores and Orogenesis: Circum-Pacific Tectonics, Geologic Evolution, and Ore Deposits, Arizona Geological Society's Digest 22, online on Friday but have not formally announced it, other than a Facebook post that said ‘Coming soon …”

Well, Mike Conway who manages our online AZGS Document Repository said the sites is "going through the roof with activity." Just under 1,0505 reads in less than six hours after posting. That is a record for documents in the repository.

Reference: Spencer, J.E. and Titley, S.R., 2008, Ores and Orogenesis: Circum-Pacific Tectonics, Geologic Evolution, and Ore Deposits. Arizona Geological Society Digest 22, 600 pages.
For hard copies, please contact: Arizona Geological Society P.O. Box 40952 Tucson, Arizona 85717