Arizona Geological Survey to inventory landslides in Arizona

The Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) is beginning a two-year project to inventory landslide sites throughout Arizona. They will inventory historic and prehistoric landslides, focusing initially on highly populated areas and transportation corridors where hazards and risks are greatest. Recall that the 2013 landslide that took out Highway 89 near Page, Arizona, was on a historic landslide site.

Landslide hazards are on the increase as development expands into mountainous terrain and as record wildfires and monsoon rains fuel dangerous, fast moving debris flows, a type of landslide activity.

AZGS has an existing, two-page, information sheet “Landslides in Arizona: Just the facts” which you can download now. That sheet shows several graphics including the types of landslides.

Landslide types

The proposed landslide database will allow local authorities to assess risk and take steps to minimize that risk.

According to AZGS, “This program will create an online interactive Arizona Statewide Landslide Inventory Database (AzSLID) of known and newly identified landslides; and an outreach and education program to inform local, tribal, county, state and federal stakeholders and the general public regarding the distribution, nature and scope of landslides and landslide hazards in Arizona.”

The program is funded by a grant of $150,656 from the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) obtained from the federal Pre-Disaster Mitigation program and by $50,219 from AZGS.

The Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA) has a hazard mitigation program, part of which deals with landslides (see here). In that report they show a map of landslide incidence and susceptibility. I notice that the map does not show the debris flows in the Santa Catalina Mountains which swept through Sabino Canyon in recent years. That alone shows the need for a better inventory program.

landslide risk map

Inventorying landslides and developing hazard and risk map assessments now will make Arizonans, their property and infrastructure safer in the years ahead.

Arizona Geological Survey adds Jim Sells data collection to database

Mining collectionsThe Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) has a new website for mining data. This is a culmination of consolidation of the now defunct Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (ADMMR) with the AZGS.

Over the past several years, AZGS has performed a comprehensive inventory of the 30 archival collections, creating finding aids for the more than 10,000 folders, 6,000 maps, and 7,000 photographs.

Visit the new Mining Collections site here:         

On July 2, 2014, the James Doyle Sell collection, which include more than 800 Arizona mine file records, was added to the Arizona Geological Survey Mine Site. The Sell mining collection comprises over 1,800 folders containing geologic reports and mineral exploration data from around the world, but primarily from Arizona and other states in the Southwest.

James (Jim) Sell was a native Arizonan, born in Casa Grande in 1930; he passed away on 18 Feb. 2011. For 32 years, Jim worked for ASARCO, where he served for some years as Southwest Exploration Manager. During his long career, Jim engaged in 100s of exploration and mining projects. A meticulous fellow, Jim kept records of most of these endeavors and donated his entire collection to the Arizona Dept. of Mines and Minerals Resources (ADMMR). See an article in Arizona Geology Magazine here.

Go to to see an inventory of material in the collection.

Arizona Geological Survey goes live online with a mining review program

The Arizona Geological Survey will begin a streaming video magazine Arizona Mining Review.  Initially, this will be a monthly program.

The inaugural session will be Wednesday, January 23 from 10:00 – 10:30 a.m. (MST). You can watch it here:

AZGS press release says:

Arizona Mining Review – A live, online video magazine from the Arizona Geological Survey explores and reviews the state of mining in Arizona — its challenges and successes. From potash to copper to gold, from mineral exploration to policy development, we’ll invite experts from industry, academia, research, and politics to join us to discuss the current state and future of mining in Arizona.

In our inaugural broadcast, Lee Allison will be joined by Nyal Niemuth, (Chief of AZGS’s Economic Section) to provide an update and overview of mining in Arizona in 2013.

Wednesday’s Topics

Mining News & Update . Lee Allison and Nyal Niemuth explore Arizona’s mining landscape for 2013 and deliberate on the state of copper, gold, silver, and rare earth element (REE) exploration and mining.

2013 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. Featured guests Mark Ascher, President of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society, and a representative from the Metropolitan Tucson Convention Visitors Bureau join Lee to preview the 2013 gem and mineral show.

Interactive Arizona Mining Maps. Janel Day (AZGS Data Manager) will demo new, online interactive mining maps, including an interactive map of Arizona’s industrial mineral sites.

AZGS asks for your thoughts!

Going forward we ask for your questions and comments to be addressed in the next episode. E-mail us at

Subscribe to the Arizona Mining Review listserve (subscribe at for regular reminders of upcoming episodes. And please share this invitation with your colleagues and associates.

 AMR will be recorded and available for later viewing on the AZGS website ( and YouTube channel (

Guide to the Geology of Catalina State Park

The Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) has just published A Guide to the Geology of Catalina State Park and the western Santa Catalina Mountains as a free, downloadable, 56-page book. This is part of the AZGS “Down-to-Earth” series. The guide contains six maps, 21 geologic features and 30+ photographs and illustrations that describe and illustrate the geology and geologic setting of Catalina State Park.

This book is written for the visitor who has an interest in geology, but may not have had formal training in the subject. It may also help ensure that the visiting geologist does not overlook some of the features described.

“The purpose of the field guide is to provide the reader with an understanding of the dynamic processes that have shaped this exceptional landscape. Many of the features discussed in the text will be encountered again and again as you continue to explore the Southwest. We hope that your experience at Catalina State Park and the Coronado National Forest will enhance the pleasure of those explorations.”

The value of this guide is that you learn about what may look to the untrained eye like ordinary features, maybe just a pile of rocks, but each feature has a story that bears on the geology of the region and provides you with a better appreciation of geological forces that shape our land.

Here is a map of the area covered:


Other publications in the AZGS series can be found here.