Friday, April 29, 2011

New Bedrock Geologic Map of Minnesota published

The Minnesota Geological Survey has released a new bedrock geologic map of the state.

State Geologist Harvey Thorleifson notes that "While this map has renewed our thinking comprehensively, our focus very much remains on county-scale, 1:100,000 3D mapping, which results in the geologic maps that are used in groundwater protection and other management applications – this is by far our principal role. Our County Geologic Atlas program is very active, and growing."

Ref: Jirsa, Mark A.; Boerboom, Terrence J.; Chandler, Val W.; Mossler, John H.; Runkel, Anthony C.; and Setterholm, Dale R.
, 2011, S-21 Bedrock Geologic Map of Minnesota. This map and associated digital map files supersede those provided as part of OFR-10_02.

Alabama Survey down, but not out, due to tornadoes

We heard from Alabama State Geologist Nick Tew this morning that all members of the Alabama Geological Survey are safe and the Survey expects to be up and running in a couple of days. The GSA should get back email and other utilities soon, although the University of Alabama may close for the rest of this semester. Some parts of Tuscaloosa are completely destroyed with early reports of as many as 100 dead.

Update (4-29-11, 12n, EDT): Nick Tew reports power and internet has been restored to the Survey. He also passed along this update:

We have some of our folks who have severely damaged homes, but all are ok, physically. There are parts of Tuscaloosa that have been utterly devastated and whole neighborhoods have been wiped off the map. A major commercial area was destroyed, but downtown and the University are ok. We won’t know the total death toll for some time to come, but it’s bad. Many, many are homeless and have nothing left.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Geology of Illinois" published

The Illinois State Geological Survey, Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability, University of Illinois, announces the release of its benchmark publication, Geology of Illinois. This 530-page volume, conceived in preparation of the Survey’s centennial celebration in 2005, was written by 40 recognized experts in Illinois geology. The book summarizes more than a century of earth science investigations in Illinois.

The publication will help both geologists and non-geologists better understand how the state’s mostly unseen geology affects, and is affected by, life on the surface.

More than 200 color photographs, maps, and drawings illustrate the text. Topics include

  • the history of geological investigations in Illinois
  • the impact of the state’s tectonic and structural history;
  • the properties and classification of its rocks and sediments;
  • the rich heritage of its land, water, and mineral resources;
  • the threats from its geological hazards; and
  • the application of geological information to societal issues.

The retail price is $35.00, but the introductory price is $30.00 plus shipping and handling. Preview chapters at

Copies may be ordered online ( or by calling the Information and Sales Office at 1-217-244-2414.

Geology of Illinois, D. R. Kolata and C. K. Nimz, editors, 2010. 530 + xiv pp.

ISBN: 978-0-615-41739-4

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Consolidation of the Arizona Dept. of Mines & Mineral Resources with the Arizona Geological Survey

On 6 April 2011, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB1615, State Agencies Consolidation, consolidating the Arizona Department of Mines and Mineral Resources (ADMMR) with the Arizona Geological Survey, effective July 1, 2011. This action transfers the duties and responsibilities of the ADMMR, including the director membership on the Centennial and Mining and Mineral Museum Advisory Council, to the Arizona Geological Survey.

Since 22 January 2011, the AZGS has maintained ADMMR’s physical assets including its offices, records, and printed and electronic archives. At that time, ADMMR staff were hired as AZGS employees. The ADMMR offices are now functioning as the Phoenix Branch office of the AZGS.

AZGS will continue to:
• Maintain a repository of mineral and mining information, including databases, books, periodicals, individual mine files, mine map repository files, mining district data and an archive of mine data
• Provide quality mining data, evaluation, and assistance relating to mineral development to the legislature, federal, state and local governmental agencies, industry, and the public

In addition, the Fiscal Year 2012 state budget provides one-time funding to start digitizing ADMMR’s extensive historical mining and mineral resource files to put them online for viewing and downloading.

Friday, April 22, 2011

AASG 2011 Distinguished Service Awards to Bluemle and Kasabach

It was announced today that the 2011 winners of the AASG Distinguished Service Award will be John Bluemle and Haig Kasabach.

John Bluemle was State Geologist of North Dakota from 1990 until 2004. As examples of his distinguished service, he was AASG Editor for 8 years from 1996 until 2004, he assisted the Editor as an Associate, he was a co-author of the 2001 Frye Award-winning publication, and he led the AASG Awards Committee until 2008.

Haig Kasabach [lower right, with wife Carol] was State Geologist of New Jersey from 1992 until 1999. As examples of his distinguished service, he was AASG Statistician for 6 years from 1990 until 1996, and he played an active role in organizing the very successful 2010 Annual Meeting.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gigapan view of Virginia Survey's 'rock garden'

The Commonwealth of Virginia’s Department of Geology and Mineral Resources maintains a "rock garden" outside it's offices in Charlottesville, where they collected "charismatic megasamples from across the state’s five physiographic provinces as a showcase for the diversity of Virginia’s geology," according to Callen Bentley, who's posted a nice gigapan image tour of the garden on his Mountain Beltway blog. [right, screen shot of Callen's gigapan image]

Foundation supports Washington's Geology Library

The Friends of the Washington Geology Library is a recently formed non-profit group dedicated to funding continued operation of the State Geology Library at the Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources.

According to a post on Northwest Geology Fieldtrips, the library has zero budget this year.

According to the division, the Washington Geology Library is the largest collection of material on Washington Geology in the world. The collection includes:

  • More than 30,000 titles on Washington geology
  • More than 3,000 Washington topographic and geologic maps
  • 7,000 reprints of journal articles
  • Over 50,000 volumes about general geology, mining, and the geology of other states
  • A comprehensive set of dissertations and theses related to Washington geology
  • The entire set of publications of the Washington Division of Geology and Earth Resources
  • An extensive collection of U.S. Geological Survey publications
  • Historical topographic maps at 1:24,000, 1:62,500, and 1:125,000 scale
  • The Washington coal mine map collection
  • The National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program Library
  • Environmental Impact Statements and watershed analyses

Saturday, April 02, 2011

AASG Pick & Gavel Award Dinner photos

The annual Pick & Gavel Awards Dinner was held at the Cosmos Club in Washington DC on March 14 with a large crowd in attendance for what has become the premier event by the geoscience community for recognition of those who have made significant contributions to advancing the role of geoscience in public policy. Congressman Hal Rogers of the Fifth Kentucky District was the AASG's 2011 "Pick and Gavel" honoree [right, with AASG Jim Cobb].

Controversy over NY State Geologist's comments on hydraulic fracturing

New York State Geologist Langhorne B. "Taury" Smith Jr. [photo credit, NY State Museum] said in an interview with the Albany Times Union a few weeks ago that concerns over hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale for natural gas production were exaggerated. Those comments were repeated in an editorial in the New York Post.

As a result, according to a follow up story in the Times Union,
He is being castigated by representatives of environmental groups and is under close scrutiny by his employer, the State Education Department. He has become a target of attacks from activists opposed to the state pushing ahead with plans to allow natural gas to be extracted from deep shale recesses using a process called hydraulic fracturing.

The Education Department will not allow Smith to talk to reporters now. Besides muzzling him, the department, which oversees his New York State Museum geology unit, won't permit him to take calls. Instead, the department provided a reporter a copy of its internal protocol for handling media inquiries which says failure to check with the office of communications first would result in "appropriate administrative action."

Digital Mapping Techniques Workshop 2011

The Digital Mapping Techniques Workshop 2011, co-hosted by the U.S. Geological Survey, The College of William and Mary Geology Department, and the Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources, will be held May 22-25 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Online registration will be available soon, but hotel information is available now.

(1) Registration -- the cost ($150) covers the Sunday evening icebreaker, breakfast and coffee breaks on Mon, Tues., and Wed., and the Monday evening social. Please register at

(2) Hotels -- The Williamsburg Hospitality House is our conference hotel. It's located just across the street from the meeting venues. Hotel rooms are available at the conference rate of $91. Parking is free. The agreement is being signed this week; within a few days you'll be able to reserve a room by calling 1-800-932-9192 and requesting the group by name "DIgital Mapping" or "DMT". If you wish to extend your stay in the area, this rate will be available from two nights before the meeting through two additional nights after the meeting. The conference rate is available until May 1.

The Williamsburg Hospitality House
415 Richmond Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185
(757) 229-4020
Other hotels are not located within easy walking distance of the meeting venues. Because tourism is a major industry in Williamsburg, there are many choices in these general areas:

- to the north and west of the College, along Richmond Road and Bypass Road
- to the southeast of the College and Colonial Williamsburg, along Pocahontas Trail (Route 60) toward Busch Gardens
- the various hotels operated by Colonial Williamsburg ( These range from deluxe (Williamsburg Inn and Lodge) to more affordable but still very nice (Woodlands hotel and suites)

AASG annual meeting registration open

Importance and Future Roles of State Geological Surveys

Building our economy, protecting our health, safety, and heritage

AASG, Friends, and Partners,

Information and Registration for the 2011 AASG annual meeting is now available at:

The meeting will be held June 13th-15th at the Grand Harbor Hotel and Conference Center in Dubuque Iowa, and is happily hosted by the Iowa Geological and Water Survey. We will focus on the 21st century role of state geological surveys, the critical information and services we provide, and the importance of delivering the message in these difficult economic times. Breakout sessions will highlight the common issues and challenges state surveys face across the land.

One day pre-and post-meeting field trips will be offered on the 12th and 16th. We think you will find your surroundings and experience to be valuable, enlightening and entertaining, with field trips ranging along the beautiful Upper Mississippi River Valley, and evening events highlighting the river and its natural history. These will include a dinner cruise on the paddle wheeler Spirit of Dubuque and a reception at the National Mississippi River Museum. We hope you can join us!

A block of rooms ($70/night plus tax) is reserved at the Grand River Center; ask for AASG when making your reservation. As we couldn’t arrange as many rooms as we had hoped for the night before the pre-meeting trip, overflow lodging has been arranged at a nearby hotel for Saturday the 11th (link on webpage). Links to lodging, field trips, points of interest in Dubuque, the meeting schedule overview, and suggestions for travel are available on the website.

The registration fee covers essentially all meals and events other than pre-and-post meeting field trips and guest trips.