Arizona Geological Society

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 Joy Merz

Long-time AGS member Joy Merz, 85, passed away on Nov 23, 2020 in Tucson. Born in Luanshya, northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), he lived internationally with his parents in Africa, U.S., and Peru. He graduated with a B.S. and M.S. in geology from The University of Arizona, worked for ASARCO and other international exploration and mining companies most notably in Spain and the Philippines but also in 14 other countries. His work ranged from geologist to a mine manager seeking ores typically containing gold, silver, copper, or zinc.

Peter G. Dunn (1934-2021)

Pete at Quintana Minerals' Mazama Copper Project,

Washington, August 1981

Long time, AGS member, Peter G. Dunn passed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.  Pete was a good friend and respected colleague, who will be missed by all who knew him.  Remembered as a skilled exploration geologist, Pete always had time to mentor young professionals.

Peter G. Dunn was born in Pomona, California in 1934.  He earned a B.S. in Geology at Yale and a M.S. at Stanford.  After completing graduate school, Pete worked for the Australian Bureau of Mineral Resources and Mount Isa Mines, before returning to the western U.S., where he was mainly employed by Bear Creek, Kennecott Copper, Quintana Minerals, and Chevron. 

Pete was an active member of the Arizona Geological Society, serving its President (1978-1979), Treasurer (1977-1978) and Vice Treasurer (1976-1977). 

A Memorial Service will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Apostles (12111 N. La Cholla) in Oro Valley, AZ, on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.  Donations remembering Peter may be made to the church or to Interfaith Community Services in Tucson.

Member News

Congratulations to member Dr. Isabel Barton who recently received a 2021 National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, which is NSF’s most prestigious award supporting early-career faculty. The recognition comes with a $500,000 grant to support her research and outreach, which is focused on interdisciplinary geometallurgical studies related to ore deposits and metallurgy.

2020 Scholarship Recipients

Our December dinner meetings have been the time when the Arizona Geological Society (AGS) presents scholarships to outstanding students at the state's three major universities, the University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University. 

This year we had a number of outstanding applicants for both the J. Harold Courtright and M. Lee Allison Scholarships, which made our job of selecting the best candidates very challenging.

Dylan Carlini

Dylan Carlini

Dylan Carlini received a B. S. in Geology from the University of Oregon in December 2018.  He is currently working on an M. S. in Geosciences at the University of Arizona, where he is focusing his research on low-sulfidation epithermal veins of the Oatman mining district in Mohave County, Arizona.

Audrey Dunham

Audrey Dunham

The 2020 M. Lee Allison Scholarship was awarded to Audrey Dunham.  Audrey received a B. S. in Geoscience with a minor in Geophysics from Penn State University in August 2017.  She is currently a fourth year Ph.D. candidate working toward a degree in Geosciences at the University of Arizona. Audrey's current research involves a diverse set of projects that highlight her passion for studying potential and unknown seismic hazards.

To learn more about these two outstanding scholarship recipients visit the Courtright Scholarship and M. Lee Allison Scholarship pages on this web site.

2021 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show Canceled in 2021

Hosted by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society since 1955, the main show at the Tucson Convention Center has been referred to as the world's largest, oldest and most prestigious gem and mineral show.

After consulting with public health officials on how its 2021 event could be modified to minimize health risks, the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society sadly announced its decision to cancel its main show on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to protect the public.

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Society is currently refocusing its efforts to bring things back to a higher level in 2022.

Women in Arizona Mining History

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.

May 2021 Newsletter

Dinner Meeting Sponsor for February 2020

The Arizona Geological Society is grateful for our sponsors, who help us offset the costs of our dinner meetings and other activities of the society.

If you are interested in sponsoring one of our dinner meetings, please contact:

For Cancellations or Changes Please Contact

Student Dinner Sponsor
for 2020

Arizona Geological Society is grateful to Skyline Assayers & Laboratories for their generous support of our student members!

Skyline Assayers & Laboratories is sponsoring student dinners for the 2020 AGS monthly meetings.

Virtual Presentation on the Sweet Home Mine & Detroit City Portal of Colorado

Rhodochrosite of Sweet Home Mine & Detroit City Portal - Blog/video

The Arizona Geological Society’s (AGS) first virtual evening presentation was a smash hit. More than 100 people ZOOMed in on the evening of 5 May 2020 to see geologist Phillip Perrson tell the story of the origin and mining history of rhodochrosite and associated Pb, Ag, Zn sulfides, tetrahedrite, and fluorite from Colorado’s renowned Sweet Home Mine and the newly opened Detroit City Portal.

Visit the Arizona Geology blog for a primer on one of the world's great rhodochrosite mines. There is a link, too, to the entire 55-minute presentation

To go directly to the 55-minute ZOOM presentation at AZGS Youtube channel.

U of A Gem & Mineral Museum

Bob Downs, Univ. of Arizona Mineral Museum Curator & Prof. of Geosciences, is leading the effort to build out a University of Arizona Gem & Mineral Museum (UAGMM) at the former Pima County Courthouse in downtown Tucson. Building renovation is well underway with the museum scheduled for a soft opening at the Courthouse in Jan. 2020.

Two of the museum’s chief organizers, Eric Fritz (Mgr.) and Les Presmyk (Mining Engineer & mineralogist), approached AGS’s Jan Rasmussen (former Curator of the Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum in Phoenix) and AZGS’s Mike Conway about helping design an exhibit focusing on the geology of Arizona.

Jan and Mike have begun pulling together ideas for an Arizona geology narrative – one idea involves building a digital display showcasing Ron Blakey’s marvelous paleogeographic reconstructions of the Colorado Plateau and environs, complemented by geologic scenes, lithologies, and interviews as the cornerstone of the exhibit. 

HELP! But we want your help in gathering ideas on the elements of narrative (with visuals) expounding on Arizona’s geologic history. In short, we want your ideas, sketches, brainstorms, and musings to help us rough out a draft design by mid-July 2018 – 3 weeks away!  This is an important opportunity for you to influence a future wide audience about Arizona geology.


Arizona Geology Exhibit. Approximately 75 square feet is set aside for an Arizona Geology exhibit. An additional 15 square feet is provided for a porphyry copper display. (Will Wilkinson. FMI retired, is taking the lead here.)  

Audience. UAG&MM organizers anticipate a largely non-science audience of considerable age range and with limited knowledge of geologic concepts.

Timeframe. Time is short. AGS & AZGS representatives meet with the UAG&MM design team in mid-July, so the sooner you share your ideas the sooner we can begin evaluating them.  

Financial Resources.  Bob Downs, Eric Fritz and others in the management will pursue the financial resources for final exhibit design and construction.

How to help! Please send your ideas, sketches, and experiences gleaned from other mineral or natural history museums to Mike and Jan at the e-mail addresses below. We can meet to brainstorm ideas before the July 3 AGS meeting to discuss ideas.

 Mike Conway
 Jan Rasmussen
 AGS Treasurer and AZGS
 AGS Member and Consultant

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