Arizona Geological Society


Upcoming events

    • 03 Jul 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Borderlands Brewing, 119 East Toole Avenue, Tucson AZ 85701

    Sponsored by:  Layne Christensen Company

          Rafting through 2 Billion Years of Geologic Time

    by Alison Jones, Clear Creek Associates

    July 3, 2018

    Abstract - 

    Alison Jones will take us on a virtual rafting trip through the Grand Canyon to look at the Paleozoic and Precambrian rock units, modern geologic features (lava dams, debris flows), and anthropologic and historical features.

    BioAlison Jones is a third generation geologist.  She got her Bachelor’s degree in Geology from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (where there is not a single rock at the surface within 100 miles) and a Master’s degree from the Colorado School of Mines (where there were plenty of rocks).  Alison’s career path took the scenic route. She did research for geological books and BBC television films right out of graduate school, and eventually ended up in Maine working as a hydrogeologist.  On a vacation in 1997, Alison saw her first saguaro outside of the baggage claim area of the Tucson airport, and she knew she would eventually live there. Finally, in 2006, eager for a change of scenery, she and her husband moved to Tucson, where she was thrilled to have “Grand Canyon State” on her license plate. After a couple of years at  City of Tucson Environmental Services as an Environmental Manager, she went back to consulting. She has been working at Clear Creek Associates on groundwater projects since 2008. Alison has served as President, Secretary, and Treasurer of the Arizona Geological Society.

    Alison’s first river trip through the Grand Canyon was in 2006, with a former Mines professor who had served on her thesis committee, Dr. John Warme.  Those early trips focused on depositional environments and sedimentological processes. Later trips with Stan Beus (NAU Emeritus professor and co-discoverer of the Surprise Canyon Formation) took an even broader view of the Canyon’s history.  She is grateful to these two wonderful geologists for opening up this part of the world to her. She will run her 12thtrip in August.


    • 07 Aug 2018
    • 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    • Borderlands Brewing, 119 East Toole Avenue, Tucson AZ 85701

    Sponsored by: Boart Longyear

      Rhodochrosite:  Red Treasure of the Rockies -
    the Story of the Sweet Home Mine

    Narrated by Karl Mecklenberg

    August 7, 2018

    Our regular August dinner meeting has been canceled in lieu of a special event, which will be held at Borderlands Brewing (119 East Toole Avenue, Tucson AZ  85701) on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 between 6 and 9 PM.

    Members of the Arizona Geological Society as well as members of the public are invited to come out and view a video on the Sweet Home Mine and have a good time, drink some beer, eat some snacks and "talk rocks".

    - This video tells the story of the Sweet Home Mine from its beginning as a modest, 1870s silver mine to its rebirth as a world-renowned source of crystal specimens.  Experience hard rock mining up close.  Watch miners within Colorado's 14-thousand foot Mount Bross as they drill and blast trying to find elusive pockets of natural riches.  Learn how science guides the underground treasure hunt.  Follow geologists as they try to unravel the mysteries of the ancient mountain.  See some of the most spectacular natural wonders ever brought to light.  Several of these mineral specimens will sell for over a million dollars each in today's market.

    The cumulative value of the rhodochrosite specimens recovered from the Sweet Home mine over the years probably exceeds $100 million, and the mine is clearly the world's premier source of fine rhodochrosite.  All in all, that's not a bad record for a "failed" silver mine.


    • 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.

Past events

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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