Arizona Geological Society

Welcome to the Arizona Geological Society

AZS Members Earn PhDs from
the University of Arizona

Two of our student members recently successfully defended their PhD dissertations at the Department of Geosciences,  University of Arizona.

Jordon Bright successfully defended his PhD dissertation on June 23, 2017.  It was titled, "Multi-disciplinary Paleoenvironmental Context for the Integration of the Lower Colorado River Corridor, the Bouse Formation, CA-AZ, USA and Middle and Late Pleistocene Human Evolution, the Koora Plain, Southern Kenya".

Former AGS Councilor, Simone Runyon successfully defended her PhD dissertation on July 5, 2017.  It was titled, "Deep Hydrothermal Alteration in Porphyry Copper Systems: Insights from the Laramide Arc."

The Arizona Geological Society congratulates them for their accomplishments and wishes them well in their future endeavors.

Arizona Geological Survey Gets Funding for Fiscal 2018

Due to the efforts of Sen. Griffin, Steve Trussell, and AZGS stakeholders, Arizona State Budget FY2018 reinstated AZGS funding at 2016 FY levels; $941,000. On Friday, Gov. Ducey signed the budget into law. Funding of AZGS will appear in the State’s base budget through 2020. For more on this and the challenges that lie ahead, please see Arizona State Geologist’s Phil Pearthree’s short note on the Arizona Geology Blog.

I’m delighted to report that we are back in business with sufficient state funding to perform our state-mandated services, including:  geologic mapping, economic geology assessment, natural hazard assessment, and outreach and education, among other things.  

AZGS thanks members of the Arizona Geological Society for supporting us over the past two tumultuous years.

Spring 2017 Field Trip Acknowledgements

The success of our Spring Field Trip to Chilito on Saturday April 22, 2017 would not have been possible without the volunteers, resources and financial assistance provided by ASARCO LLC and Freeport-McMoRan, Inc.  The Arizona Geological Society is grateful for their generous support.

Wolf Schuh and Don Applebee

Any successful event of this type requires a lot of hard work and planning by many individuals.   The Arizona Geological Society applauds Don Applebee and Wolf Schuh for their excellent job of planning and leading this event as well as preparing an excellent field trip guidebook for its participants.


Stan Evans

Stan Evans handled the field trip's business aspects, dealing with the check-in and collection of registration fees from participants.   Asarco personnel and former employees, who volunteered their time help out with the field trip included:  Julian Tellez Perez, Bobby Prescott, Ed Zurcher, Marisa Lerew, Dave Nonnast, Bob Cummings and Petra Webb.

Lunch Time at Chilito

Finally, we must not forget, Ortrud and Anna Schuh, who helped out by getting the lunches and refreshments that were enjoyed by all participants.

Pnotos were provided by Dave Wahl, Marisa Lerew, Ortrud Schuh and Stan Keith.

The Arizona Geological Society thanks everyone, who helped make our 2017 Spring Field Trip a successful event.

2017 Spring Field Trip Report

On April 22nd, the weather was excellent as 72 participants gathered for the Arizona Geological Society spring field trip to the Laramide-age Chilito porphyry copper deposit, located in the Dripping Spring Mountains, Gila County, Arizona.  Participants represented multiple mining companies, university facility and students and variety of other geologists; some who journeyed from as far away as California and Colorado to attend the event.

The  day started with an introduction to some of the important host rocks of the Chilito porphyry copper deposit.  Participants observed the Keystone fault with altered diabase in the foot wall juxtaposed against  Naco Limestone in the hanging wall.

Don Applebee describes regional stratigraphy and structure at scenic overlook (Stop 2)

At the second stop, Don Applebee gave a description of the regional stratigraphy and structure from a scenic overlook, and described historic mine workings at distal skarn and replacement deposits.  At this locality, participants were able to examine representative examples of core.

Participants Examine Copper Oxide Mineralization in Troy Quartzite at Velasco Pit

Stop three was a visit to the Velasco Pit, where the Troy Quartzite was historically mined for silica flux.  Dikes of quartz diorite cut the Troy Quartzite at this locality.  Participants enjoyed hunting for azurite, malachite, and chrysocolla within the quartzite.

Participants examine diopsidic skarn at Stop 5

Participants were able to observe pervasive sericite alteration in diabase and the stock.  At stop five, participants observed diopsidic skarn with copper mineralization in the Mescal Limestone.  A final stop allowed participants to examine outcrops containing multiple generations of dense quartz veining within the quartz diorite intrusion.

Participants examine Multiple Generations of Quartz-Sericite-Pyrite Veining in Quartz Diorite

Overall, the field trip allowed participants to observe a range of alteration styles in different host rocks, which gave them a better understanding of the Chilito porphyry copper system.

Extra copies of the Spring Field Trip Guidebook to Chilito will be available for purchase at our monthly dinner meetings.

AGS Digests Now Available On-line

Articles contained within the Arizona Geological Society Digests 1 through 22 are now available on-line at our publications page.  Our out-of-print Digests are available to the public, While our in-print Digests are only accessible to AGS members. 

Anyone who is interested in purchasing Printed Copies of In-Print AGS Digests can do so on-line or contact the AGS Secretary for more details.  Copies of current AGS Guidebooks and Digests are also for sale at a reduced price at AGS monthly dinner meetings.

Wulfenite in Arizona by Jan C. Rasmussen and Stanley B. Keith

Wulfenite from Red Cloud Mine, Trigo Mountains,

La Paz County, AZ

Jan Rasmussen and Stan Keith presented a paper on Wulfenite in Arizona to the Tucson Gem and Mineralogical Society on January 9, 2017. 

Wulfenite is a lead molybdate mineral, which is a oxidation product of primary galena.  It ranges from orange-yellow, honey-yellow, reddish-orange, grey, brown, olive-green to black in color.  Colorless varieties are rare.  It's color is dependent on elemental impurities of tungsten, calcium, vanadium, arsenic, chromium and titanium.

There are 275 identified occurrences of wulfenite localities in Arizona.  The best wulfenite specimens are commonly found in water courses/large open fillings located in Alkali-Calcic and Quartz Alkalic mining districts away from immediate lead source.

Here is a link a MP3 recording of the Wulfenite in Arizona presentation.

AZGS Discovers a New Large Earth Fissure in Southern Pinal County

Earth scientists from the Arizona Geological Survey have identified a fresh 2-mile long earth fissure approximate 10 miles south-southwest of Picacho Peak State Park. Located in the Tator Hills Fissure Study Area, this new fissure is oriented roughly north-south and ranges from up to 10 feet side and 25 to 30 feet deep.  Evidence suggest this earth fissure began to form between March 2013 and December 2014

AZGS and Arizona Department of Water Resources personnel prepared the first drone video of a fresh earth fissure in Arizona.

Earth fissures result from basin subsidence that accompanies extensive ground water withdrawal from the unconsolidated ground water aquifers within alluvial valleys of southern Arizona.

Earth fissures result from basin subsidence that accompanies extensive ground water withdrawal from the unconsolidated ground water aquifers within alluvial valleys of southern Arizona.

Wulfenite becomes Arizona's State Mineral

On March 22, 2017 Governor Doug Ducey signed House Bill 2092, which made wulfenite the stae mineral of Arizona.

October 2017 Newsletter

Dinner Sponsor for October2017

The Arizona Geological Society is grateful for Skyline Assayer & Laboratories Sponsorship of our October 2017 dinner meeting.  This assistance helps us offset the costs of our dinner meetings and other activities of the society.

For Cancellations or Changes Please Contact

Upcoming events - Register Here!

07 Nov 2017 6:00 PM • Sheraton, 5151 E Grant Rd. (& Rosemont), Tucson AZ 85712
05 Dec 2017 6:00 PM • Sheraton, 5151 E Grant Rd. (& Rosemont), Tucson AZ 85712
02 Jan 2018 6:00 PM • Sheraton, 5151 E Grant Rd. (& Rosemont), Tucson AZ 85712

Student Dinner Sponsor for 2017

Arizona Geological Society is grateful to Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. for their generous support of our student members!

Freeport-McMoRan is sponsoring student dinners for the 2017 AGS monthly meetings.

Doug Shakel Memorial Award presented to Allison McGraw

Allison McGraw

Allison McGraw was awarded the Doug Shakel Memorial Award for Best Undergraduate Presentation at the University of Arizona Department of Geosciences' 2017 Geodaze event.  Allison's presentation was titled "Mineralogy Characterization of the Gefion Astroid Family." 

Allison McGraw is an undergraduate at the University of Arizona in Geosciences, Planetary Sciences, Astrobiology and GIS.  The NASA Arizona Space Grant Consortium supports this research, and her mentor is Dr. Vishnu Reddy of the Lunar and Planetary Lab at the University of Arizona.

2016 J. Harold Courtright Scholarship Recipient

Bob Powell, head of the Arizona Geological Society's Scholarship committee awarded the J. Harold Courtright Scholarship to Daniel A. Favorito during the AGS December dinner meeting.  Anna Schuh and Philip McFarland, recipients of the M. Lee Allison Scholarship were unable to attend the December meeting and will be recognized for their achievements at our February 2017 dinner meeting.

Bob Powell presents Daniel Favorito the 2017 Courtright Scholarship

Daniel Favorito received his B.S. in Geology from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey in 2014 and his M. S. in Geosciences from the University of Arizona in 2016.  He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Geoscicences at the U. of A.  His dissertation research involves studying the space-time relationships between Laramide contractional deformation and the formation of porphyry coppers in southeastern Arizona.

2016 M. Lee Allison Scholarship Recipients

Recipients of the 2016 M. Lee Allison Scholarship, Anna Schuh and Philip McFarland were recognized at the February dinner meeting.

Anna Schuh

Anna Schuh is a senior in the University of Arizona Honors College, where she is pursuing concurrently a Bachelor of Science in Geosciences, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems, and a Minor in German Language.  To broaden her geologic experience and expand her cultural awareness, Anna spent a semester abroad at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and participated in their geologic field camp.

Philip McFarland

Philip McFarland graduated from the University of Arizona in 2013, receiving his B.S. in Applied Mathematics with a Minor in Geoscicences.  He is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Geosciences at the University of Arizona.  His dissertation research focuses on using space geodesy (GPS and InSAR) to measure active deformation in the Puna Plateau region of the Central Andes, where active subduction of the Nazca Plate is accompanied by shortening of the South American crust.

2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

The 2017 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show was held at the Tucson Convention Center on February 9-12th, 2017.  Here are some photos Cori Hoag and Jan Rasmussen took at the show.

TGMS Show Poster with Native Copper

Tourmaline and Quartz from Pederneira Mine, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Cerussite, Flux Mine, Harshaw District, Santa Cruz Co., Arizona

Malachite - Lavender Pit, Bisbee, Arizona

Cuprite, Ray Mine, Pinal County, Arizona

Efforts to Transfer the Mineral Museum to the University of Arizona

U of A's Tim Bee at the podium and Kimberly Espy waiting for her opportunity to throw U of A support behind SB1415

Arizona Senate bill SB 1415, finalizing the permanent transfer of the Polly Rosenbaum Building and Arizona Mining & Mineral Museum collection to the University of Arizona, was passed 9/0/1 by the Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, February 14, 2017. The U of A sent two heavy hitters, Tim Bee and Kimberly Espy, to voice their support for this bill. Both spoke keenly about the U of A’s interest in re-establishing a museum in the Rosenbaum Building.

In a related matter, SB1184 also passed the Arizona Senate Appropriation Committee.  It provides $941,000 of operating funds for the Arizona Geological Survey in FY 2018.  The survey got a scare as there was an amendment to reduce its funding to $500,000.  Fortunately, Committee Chair Lasko withdrew the amendment.

There are several more hurdles before the AZGS gets the badly needed funds it requires to continue core services it performs for the citizens of Arizona.  However, today’s appropriations vote was a big step forward.

Arizona Geological Society member are urged to express their support for these bills to their elected representatives.

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