Arizona Geological Society


Upcoming events

    • 04 Sep 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Sheraton, 5151 E Grant Rd. (& Rosemont), Tucson AZ 85712

    Sponsored by:   RockWare, Inc.

    Applying Geological Exploration Methods Towards the Location of Clandestine Gravesites

    by Jim Reed, NecroSearch International

    Abstract -In 1988, NecroSearch International, a non-profit organization, was founded to provide the international law enforcement community with scientific assistance in locating clandestine gravesites related to homicides.  Thirty years later, NecroSearch has assisted police and district attorneys with more than 300 cases in 40 states on four continents.  Although geology is just one of many different disciplines that are provided by NecroSearch volunteers, this presentation will focus on how geological exploration methods have been applied towards solving crimes.  

    Examples of the following geological topics as applied towards actual homicide investigations will be presented:

    • Computer Methods (e.g. multivariate grid and block modeling)
    • Drone-Based Methods (e.g. LIDAR, MAG, Multispectral Imagery, Thermal Infrared)
    • Geochemistry (e.g. soil gasses, alternate light source detection)
    • Geomorphology (e.g. subsidence and soil dessication)
    • Geophysics (e.g. electromagnetics, ground penetrating radar)
    • Geotechnical (e.g. compaction and penetrometer surveys)
    • Hydrogeology (e.g. surface and groundwater flow and evidence transport)
    • Mineralogy (e.g. tracing minerals to source locations)
    • Paleontology (e.g. urbanite index fossils as time horizons)
    • Stratigraphy (e.g. Steno’s law of superposition and soil mixing)

    More information may be obtained at

    Bio -Jim Reed is the Director of R&D at RockWare, Inc, a geological software development and consulting company with offices in Golden, Colorado and Lugano, Switzerland.  Prior to founding RockWare in 1983, Jim worked at NASA, Arch Coal, Freeport, AMAX, and Wold Minerals.  Jim received his geological education at the University of Wyoming and Washington University in St. Louis.  He is currently a councilor with the Colorado Scientific Society and a volunteer with NecroSearch International.  Over 30,000 individuals, corporations, universities, and government agencies on all continents use Jim’s software products.



    • 02 Oct 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Sheraton, 5151 E Grant Rd. (& Rosemont), Tucson AZ 85712

    Sponsored by:  National Drilling

    The Geology and Economics of Lithium

    by Ihor A. Kunasz, Tru Group

    Abstract -Until the late 1960’s, pegmatites were the sole sources of lithium concentrates and chemicals. Identified as a new element in 1845, lithium slowly found its way in numerous ceramic and chemical formulations.

    Lithium occurs principally in pegmatites where various lithium minerals occur: zinnwaldite, lepidolite, amblygonite and most importantly, spodumene.  There are fundamentally two types of lithium pegmatites: unzoned (the majority) and zoned. Unzoned pegmatites have practically the same mineralogical composition where spodumene makes up to 20% of the mineral suite. There the spodumene has a fairly highly iron content, suitable mainly for chemical conversion. Zoned pegmatites are mineralogically complex (Bernic Lake, Greenbushes, Zimbabwe) and the spodumene is low in iron, which makes it suitable for direct use in ceramics.

    In late1960’s, lithium was identified in the brines of Clayton Valley Nevada and later in the vast deposit of the Salar de Atacama, Chile. This changed dramatically the structure of the lithium industry. Today, because of the excitement of electric cars and highly optimistic projections for lithium demand, there are many on-going exploration programs by junior companies that do not fully appreciate the complexity of brines.

    The paper will review the evolution of the sources of lithium production and analyze future trends.

    Bio -Ihor A. Kunasz started his lithium career in 1970 with Foote Mineral Company, where he became chief geologist and the leading authority in the field of lithium deposits, having visited and evaluated practically all the major pegmatite and brine deposits of the world. After Cyprus Minerals Company acquired Foote Mineral Ihor became Vice President- South America for the development of gold and copper projects. After completion of his assignment, he became the Soviet Union specialist and was the initial negotiator on the first Russian gold deposit to be successfully developed by a western mining company in Russia.

    Dr. Kunasz was born of Ukrainian parents in France; he is a graduate of College St. Clement. Metz, France. He has a BS in geology from Case Western Reserve University and MS and PhD degrees from the Pennsylvania State University. His doctoral thesis was on the origin of lithium in Clayton Valley, NV, where the first brine deposit was commercially exploited for lithium. He conducted the initial exploration and evaluation programs at the Salar de Atacama, Chile and was intimately involved in the negotiations with the Chilean government.

    Ihor Kunasz held various functions in the Industrial Minerals Division of Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration Society (SME), and was elected President in 1998. He was honored with the prestigious AIME Hal Hardinge and the SME Dreyer awards for his outstanding contribution to the exploration, development and extraction of lithium brines.

    He has published over twenty-five technical papers.  He was a member of the National Academy of Science lithium subpanel tasked with compiling the first comprehensive global lithium resources. He was a member of the Academy's first expedition to the Lake Zabuye lithium-bearing saline lake of Tibet.  Ihor was an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona Mining and  Engineering Department. He is presently a consultant on lithium. He and his wife of 50 years, Zenovia, reside in Oro Valley, AZ.

    • 06 Nov 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Sheraton, 5151 E Grant Rd. (& Rosemont), Tucson AZ 85712

    Sponsored by: 

    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:  Three Decades of Exploration

    by William Wilkinson, Retired Freeport-McMoRan, Inc.

    Abstract - What were the successes and "failures" over my career as an exploration geologist and why.

    Bio -Wilkinson H. Wilkinson retired as Vice President Exploration, Africa, for Freeport-McMoRan Inc. in Phoenix, AZ in November 2015.  He was responsible for project direction, reconnaissance and acquisitions throughout the continent which has lead to a major discovery.  He has nearly 37 years of experience in mineral exploration and has worked in base and precious metal exploration in 25 countries on five continents.   Will has worked in the southwestern United States for Anaconda, Duval Corporation, Westmont Mining and Phelps Dodge prior to Freeport.

    Will received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, with a three-year break for service in the U.S. Army.  He received his Ph.D. degree in geosciences in 1981 from the University of Arizona.  Will was the 2009 President of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME), is a Distinguished Member of SME, a charter Registered Member of SME and an Honorary member of AIME.  He is a Certified Professional Geologist of the American Institute of Professional Geologists and is a member of the Society of Economic Geologists, Mining Foundation of the Southwest (Board of Governors), Mining and Metallurgical Society of America, and the Arizona Geological Society.  He has been an avid mineral collector since the fourth grade, which provided the impetus to study geology and explore for new mineral deposits.

    • 04 Dec 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Sheraton, 5151 E Grant Rd. (& Rosemont), Tucson AZ 85712

    Sponsored by: 

    Deep-Seated Volcanism and the
    Genesis of Diamonds

    by David (Duff) Gold - Emeritus Professor of Geology,
    Dept of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University

    Abstract -Kimberlites (senso lato) are OH-rich ultramafic (silica deficient) rocks with a porphyritic texture that may contain phenocrysts and xenocrysts of pyrope-rich garnets, magnesian-rich ilmenite (picro-ilmenite), chrome-diopside, spinels, phlogopite and diamonds, as well as foreign inclusions (xenoliths) of exotic olivine-pyroxene-garnet-spinel assemblages.  Evolved varieties include phlogopite-rich (Type II) and the highly potassic lamproites that may contain sanidine, feldspathoids (leucite) and unusual K-rich amphiboles (K-richterite), and a host of barium and titanium rich minerals (priderite, perovskite, wadeite).  They occur in fissures or thin dikes and as “blow-outs” in carrot-shaped “diatreme breccia pipes”, too far from the source to be “normal” quenched magma melts.  Consistent with their high fluid content, outgassing took place at great depth, and emplacement was achieved rapidly along hydraulically driven cracks from depths of the order of 50 to more than 150 kms.  Diatremes are essentially, near surface structures, with both crater and vent facies preserved. No lava except for some lamproites has been verified.   Outgassing fluids, with modeled velocities as high as Mach 2, plucked, entrained, rounded, polished and mixed samples of the upper mantle and lower crustal rocks, up to 60 cm across,  with more angular upper crustal lithologies, and polished the walls of some of the diatreme vents.  “Kimberlites” were emplaced periodically throughout geologic time with a peak during Cretaceous times (disruption of Gondowanaland).  The predominance of lamproites to the Tertiary may reflect erosion depth rather than temporal distribution.

    Although kimberlite-type volcanism is more common than once suspected, kimberlitic intrusions are volumetrically small, and tend to be clustered.  Some kimberlite and lamproites are of interest economically as a primary source of diamonds, albeit as the dispersant rather than the concentrating agent.   Of more than 9000 known kimberlitic bodies only approximately 5% contain diamonds (mainly as “micros”, <0.5 mm) and less than 10% of these are likely to be economic.

    Tradition exploration sought to find kimberlite intrusions by sampling of stream sediments for a characteristic suite of heavy minerals (picro-ilmenite, Cr-diopside and low Ca –Cr-rich garnets), referred to as “indicator” (or “sputnik” minerals).  Lamprophyres have a different “sputnik” assemblages.   Although the ultimate test for economic viability of a kimberlite/lamproite body is ”production performance”, much of the guesswork is reduced by improved sampling strategies, and correlated geochemical/mineralogical parameters of the more abundant xenoliths and xenocrysts in the host.   These include, amongst others, the partitioning between elements (such as alumina and chrome between coexisting minerals such as garnets and pyroxenes) adjacent to and within diamonds that yield information of pressure and temperature in the source region in the upper mantle. Other favorable factors include the presence of (a) G-9 and G-10 garnets (low Ca, high Cr pyrope), (b) the absence of an oxidation trend (overgrowths) in the ilmenites and spinels.  Additional evaluation is warranted if the P-T regime, inferred from co-existing sets of minerals in the xenoliths, plot in a fertile region defined by the diamond/graphite inversion boundary and geothermal gradient.  Experimental work on carbon indicate an environment of 1300°C and 54 kbars (<4 GP pressure) for diamond growth from a melt: conditions likely to occur only beneath old cold cratons.   Arizona has its share of these diatremes in the northeastern part of the state and adjacent areas in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.  These “Colorado Plateau” diatremes [JG1] [JG2]  differ from typical kimberlites in the abundance of unaltered ultramafic nodules, “fresh” olivines, and a paucity of serpentinization and absence of G9 or G10 garnets.   Conventional wisdom is that the mantle is too hot at the right depth.  However, diamond have been produced from Murfreesboro (Prairie Lake) in Arkansas, and Kelsey Lake in northern Colorado, but neither are considered economically viable.

    Diamonds are classified geologically as “p-type” for peridotitic from “fertile” asthenospheric (pristine) mantle, or “e-type” for eclogitic from a depleted or lithospheric (recycled) mantle.  Different types of diamonds may represent stages and storage of Earth’s carbon from crust to core. The recent discovery of Ice-7 in a diamond suggests a complex history.   Diamond have been around since the early crust of the earth formed and they probably record a dynamic earth history until the time of emplacement (some more than a billion years later).  Modern exploration focuses on extensional settings in “OLD COLD CRATONS”.   The marketing of synthetic diamond gemstones earlier this year is significant because it may spur the development of doped diamond crystals for “quantum’ processors.

    Duff with his right hand on ultramafic nodules in a kimberlite from the Grass Range area, Montana. His left hand is on a micaceous kimberlite (type II) from the Tanoma Coal mine in Pennsylvania.Bio -David Percy Gold was born (June, 1933) in Natal, South Africa, the great-grandson of immigrants from Brecken, Scotland, and grew up in a rural farming community.  After matriculating from Maritzburg College (1950), he completed three degree (B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons) and M.Sc.) in geology from the University of Natal, South Africa.  He spent two years as an Assistant Geologist (Union Corporation) in the Witwatersrand Gold Fields, before starting graduate studies at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.  His thesis on the evolution and emplacement mechanism of rare carbonate-bearing rocks with deep-seated roots in the upper mantle, complemented his early interest in the nature of kimberlites.   He married Jacqueline Kebble (from Springs, South Africa) in Montreal on October 9, 1959.   They migrated to State College, Pennsylvania in 1964, where they raised and educated four children.

     A lecturer post at Loyola College in Montreal, enabled him to spend summers with the Dominion Observatory (Ottawa) on a Program to examine the origin for “large circular features” on the Canadian Shield, and determine which might be astroblemes (meteorite impact sites).  A post-doctoral fellowship at Penn State (1964), under the tutelage of O.F. Tuttle, and P.J. Wiley, melded both these interests in a NASA-sponsored project to develop criteria for distinguishing exo- from endo-genic terrestrial craters (part of the Gemini and later Apollo space programs).  He has presented more than 50 articles on these topics.  Interaction with Frank Dachille (Penn State) fostered his thinking on the scale of geological processes involving short time-spans, large features, and enormous amounts of energy – a topic he continues to develop.

    He has conducted detailed field mapping projects in Africa, Canada, and the United States, and visited mining sites in central and South America, India and Russia.  Current studies on kimberlites focus on the anomalous emplacement habits of dikes exposed underground in some Pennsylvania coal mines.

    At Penn State, he taught courses in Economic Geology, Geology for Mining Engineers, Structural Geology, Remote Sensing and Photo-geology, Field Methods and Field School, from the mid-60’s to the mid-90’s.  Extra-curricular activities included short courses for National Science Foundation, National Groundwater Association, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and PetroChina. He served on the MLA-MRE Advisory Group (NASA) on Remote Sensing and Space Technology during the 1980’s.  He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the Geological Association of Canada.  His kudos include the Barlow Memorial medal from the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy/Geological Association of Canada (1967), the Wilson Outstanding Teacher medal (1971) from Penn State, the 24th International Geological Congress, Presidents medal, 1972.  He was one of the American Geological Institute’s Distinguished Lecturers for 1971.

    His association with Penn State started as a post-doctoral fellow at Penn State during the fall of 1964.  This appointment morphed into Research Associate status in 1966, a tenured faculty position in 1968 and a professorship in 1975.  He was Director of the Penn State Field School (1971-97), Chairman of the Geology Graduate Program from 1977-1982, and the University Ombudsman (1997-2011).  He considered Field School, operating out of Red Lodge, Montana, and Alta, Utah, as his Summer vacation. Although he formally retired end of 1997, he was awarded emeritus status at Penn State and maintains an office in Deike Building.

Past events

07 Aug 2018 Rhodochrosite: Red Treasure of the Rockies - The Story of the Sweet Home Mine
03 Jul 2018 Alison Jones Presents - Rafting through 2 Billion Years of Geologic Time
05 Jun 2018 Gary Huckleberry Presents - The Geoarcheology of Ancient Water Control in the Southwest: Lessons from the Past
01 May 2018 William B. White presents The Science of Caves and Cave Contributions to Science
21 Apr 2018 Spring Field Trip - Jerome - An Early Proterozoic Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide Deposit
03 Apr 2018 Volker Spieth and Stanley Keith Present - Finding Gold in the Kupferschiefer
29 Mar 2018 Future Home of the University of Arizona Gem and Mineral Museum
06 Mar 2018 Joe Wilkins, Jr. Presents - Piedras Verdes and Cuatro Hermanos, Sonora, Mexico - A Tale of Two Porphyries
06 Feb 2018 Paul F. Hlava presents Causes of Color in Minerals and Gemstones
02 Jan 2018 Peter L. Ward presents Bringing Peace to the Climate Wars
05 Dec 2017 Joellen Russell presents The Ocean's Role in the Climate of the Anthropocene
07 Nov 2017 Eric Sundquist presents Geological Perspectives on Carbon Dioxide, the Carbon Cycle and Carbon Management
03 Oct 2017 Lily Jackson presents Andean River Sediments as a Window into the Tectonic History of Ecuador
05 Sep 2017 Vic Baker presents The Influence of the 18th Century Enlightenment on the Natural Sciences
22 Aug 2017 AGS Meet and Greet, A Networking Event
11 Jul 2017 Andrew Zaffos presents Global Tectonics and Marine Animal Diversity
06 Jun 2017 Dan Johnson presents Introduction to the Florence Copper Project and In-Situ Copper Recovery
02 May 2017 Robert Glennon presents America's Water Crisis and What To Do About It
22 Apr 2017 Spring Field Trip - The Laramide-age Chilito Porphyry Copper Deposit
04 Apr 2017 David London presents The Nature and Origins of Internal Zonation within Granitic Pegmatites
07 Mar 2017 Derek J. Thorkelson presents The Precambrian Tectonic Connection between Yukon and Arizona
07 Feb 2017 Daniel Hummer presents Mineral ecology and evolution: Using large datasets to tell the story of the co-evolution of Earth and life
03 Jan 2017 David A. Sawyer presents Dating Geologic Time in the Cretaceous: Integrating Biostratigraphy, Isotope Geochronology, and Astrochronology in Sedimentary Deposits of the Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway
06 Dec 2016 John W. Ewert presents USGS Responses to Some Volcanic Crises and Eruptions Around the World
01 Nov 2016 Alexander Schauss presents Minerals, Trace Elements and Human Health
22 Oct 2016 Fall Field Trip - The Peach Spring Tuff and the Silver Creek Caldera, Northwestern Arizona
04 Oct 2016 Hamish Martin Presents Geology of the Resolution Cu-Mo Deposit, Superior Arizona
06 Sep 2016 Keith R. Long Presents No Bonanza from Cheap Oil
02 Aug 2016 Lee Allison Presents The Future of State Geological Surveys: the Arizona Case Study
05 Jul 2016 Don Applebee Presents Genesis of the Chilito Porphyry Copper Deposit
07 Jun 2016 Robert Hildebrand Presents Collisions, Slab Failure Magmatism and the Development of Cordilleran Batholiths
03 May 2016 Peter Modreski will present "Pegmatites: Mineralogy, Gemstones, Economic Geology, and maybe not quite the same Giant-Crystal Rocks you always thought they were"
30 Apr 2016 Spring Field Trip - An Introduction to the Pinal Schist in Southeastern Arizona
05 Apr 2016 Jordon Bright Presents Looking for an Ocean in the Desert, the Enigmatic Bouse Formation
01 Mar 2016 Peter R. Johnson Presents Tectonics and Mineral Deposits of the Arabian-Nubian Shield
02 Feb 2016 Dr. Karen Wenrich Presents The Ga-Ge Rich Apex Mine, Utah - A Tsumeb, Namibia Analogue
05 Jan 2016 Sarah Baxter Presents Calc-silicate Alteration and Ore Characterization, ASARCO Mission Complex, Pima County, Arizona
01 Dec 2015 Peter Smith Presents The Latest News from Mars
14 Nov 2015 Fall Field Trip - Northern Plomosa Mountains and Bouse Formation in Blythe Basin
03 Nov 2015 Karen Kelley presents The Giant Concealed Pebble Cu-Au-Mo Porphyry Deposit, Southwest Alaska
06 Oct 2015 Caleb King presents Eocene Hydrothermal Systems and Contrasting Hydrothermal Alteration in the Battle Mountain District, Nevada
01 Sep 2015 Carl Bowser presents The Genesis of the Kramer Borax Deposit, Rogers Lake, Mojave Desert, CA:
04 Aug 2015 Dan Lynch presents Volcanoes in the Back Yard
07 Jul 2015 Erik Melchiorre presents The Complex Geological History Recorded by Arizona Placer Deposits:
02 Jun 2015 Jan C. Rasmussen Presents - Arizona Mineralization through Geologic Time
05 May 2015 Gordon Haxel Presents - Alpine peridotite in the desert - Arizona's Laramide subduction complex
02 May 2015 Spring Field Trip - Oak Creek - Mormon Lake Graben
18 Apr 2015 Third Annual Arizona Geological Society Doug Shakel Student Poster Event
03 Mar 2015 Apollo 17 Astronaut and Former Senator Harrison H. Schmitt presents A Geological Visit to a Valley on the Moon
03 Feb 2015 Don Yurewicz Presents Assessing Unconventional (Continuous) Hydrocarbon Resource Plays
06 Jan 2015 Arend Meijer presents: Sulfide-rich Proterozoic Mafic Rocks and Arizona Porphyry Copper Deposits - A Connection?
02 Dec 2014 Victor R. Baker: Megafloods on Earth, Mars, and Beyond
15 Nov 2014 Fall Field Trip - Debris Flows Shape the Sabino Canyon Landscape - look out below!
04 Nov 2014 Isabel F. Barton: Historical Development & Current State of Geological Research in the Central African Copperbelt
07 Oct 2014 Apollo 17 Astronaut and Former Senator Harrison H. Schmitt presents A Geological Visit to a Valley on the Moon
02 Sep 2014 Lewis Land presents Evaluation of Groundwater Residence Time in a Karstic Aquifer System
05 Aug 2014 Jamie Molaro presents Thermal Stress Weathering in the Inner Solar System
01 Jul 2014 Jim Leenhouts presents Surface-water/groundwater Interactions in Arizona
03 Jun 2014 Arend Meijer presents Pinal Schist of So. Arizona--A Paleoproterozoic Fore-Arc Complex
06 May 2014 John C. Lacy presents The Genesis of Mining Law
26 Apr 2014 Spring Field Trip - Geology of the Christmas Porphyry Copper Deposit
24 Apr 2014 Second Annual Arizona Geological Society Doug Shakel Student Poster Event
01 Apr 2014 Eric Seedorff presents, Structural Dismemberment of a Porphyry Molybdenum System, Spruce Mountain District, Northeastern Nevada
04 Mar 2014 John Dreier presents, Copper Deposits of the Coast Ranges of Chile; A trip through time, space, and ore deposit nomenclature
04 Feb 2014 Ralph Stegen presents The Morenci Porphyry Cu-Mo Deposit, Greenlee County, Arizona: A Geologic Summary with Emphasis on Hypogene and Supergene Mineralization
07 Jan 2014 Steve Castor presents, Mountain Pass and other North American Rare Earth Element Deposits
03 Dec 2013 Stephen Jackson, USGS, Looking forward from the past: Ecological impacts of climate change through the lens of history
05 Nov 2013 Malcolm Siegel, PhD, MPH, LJS Consulting, Inc and School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM. 87047: Uranium Mining in the American Southwest: Can Medical Geologists Ask the Right Questions?
04 Oct 2013 Field Trip - H. Wilson Sundt Generating Station
01 Oct 2013 Mark Logsdon, Principal Geochemist, Geochimica, Inc.: What Does “Perpetual” Management and Treatment Mean? Toward a Framework for Determining an Appropriate Period-of-Performance for Management of Reactive, Sulfide-Bearing Mine Wastes
01 Oct 2013 Mark J. Logsdon, Geochimica, Inc., Does acid-rock drainage lead to waste-rock instability? Geological, hydrological, and geochemical framework for the Questa Mine
03 Sep 2013 Pete Reiners, UA, Geosciences Dept., Geochronology of secondary Fe & Mn oxides in bedrock
30 Aug 2013 Field Trip - University of Arizona Tree-Ring Research Laboratory
06 Aug 2013 Bill Stavast, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, The Safford Mine: What we have learned since production began
02 Jul 2013 Lukas Zurcher, USGS, presents: "Tectono-magmatic evolution of the Central Tethys Region"
04 Jun 2013 Steve Van Nort presents, "Gold Fever! The BRE-X/Busang Story
07 May 2013 Federal lands and mineral resources: Colorado Plateau uranium deposits and the Sonoran Desert Heritage
18 Apr 2013 First Annual Arizona Geological Society Doug Shakel Student Poster Event

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