Thursday, March 22, 2012

AASG testifies on USGS budget and state co-ops

Minnesota State Geologist Harvey Thorleifson reports that the House Energy & Minerals Subcommittee hearing on the USGS budget today went well. [Right, US Capitol. Credit, Architect of the Capitol]

Jon Price spoke effectively for SME, John Geissman spoke superbly for GSA, and Harvey spoke for AASG. There were good questions and discussion, much of it, but certainly not all, on fracking.

USGS Director Marcia McNutt spoke very positively about partnerships with states, the fundamental importance of geologic mapping, and added a plug for 3D mapping.

Chairman Lamborn of CO asked Marcia to confirm that supplements to NCGMP would be distributed to Statemap and elsewhere according to the provisions of the Act, and Marcia confirmed this.

Rush Holt of NJ followed up on our testimony, in which we mentioned the New Jersey Geological Survey geologic mapping associated with nuclear facilities.

Representative Tonko of NY asked excellent questions – on geologic mapping, on NCGMP, on the distribution of funds to Statemap, and on the Great Lakes Coalition. He also asked a thoughtful question about how to optimize our preparedness for flooding and other hazards - Harvey noted stream gages, understanding stream response, documenting historic and geologic records of past events, and conveying a grasp of the risk to the public.

Bill Flores of Texas spoke strongly in favor of the Minerals program, as he depicted availability of minerals as a serious topic for the nation. GT Thompson of PA focused on fracking.

In discussions after, Chairman Lamborn spoke very positively about the Colorado Geological Survey mapping that AASG had mentioned in testimony.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pick & Gavel Awards to Sen. Feinstein, Rep. Moran

The 2012 AASG Pick & Gavel Awards were presented to Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, and Rep. Jim Moran at a formal dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington DC last week in front of a large audience of geoscientists and policy makers. [Right, Virginia State Geologist David Spear presents the award to Tim Aiken, Legislative Director for Rep. Moran. Photo credit, Ben Zweig]

The Pick and Gavel Award was initiated by AASG in 1999 to recognize distinguished friends of geology who have made or are making major contributions to advancing the role that geoscience plays in our society. The Pick and Gavel Dinner is held in Washington D.C. in mid-March at the Cosmos Club, whose history is steeped in geology. One of its founders and first presidents was John Wesley Powell, 1881 -1894 USGS Director and explorer of the Grand Canyon, and its membership has included many renowned geologists.

The Award consists of a mounted mineral, fossil, or rock, with a symbol that includes a geologist's pick, a policy-maker's gavel, and the Capitol, where geologists and policy-makers work together to respond to the needs of the nation.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Opening for Director of the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology

Montana State Geologist Ed Deal has announced his retirement at the end of September, 2012. The Chancellor of Montana Tech announced an open search for Ed's replacement is now underway.

Director of the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology

Montana Tech of The University of Montana seeks an individual to serve as the Director of the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG), and as the Montana State Geologist. The Director oversees and develops MBMG programs related to its core mission of collecting and disseminating information about Montana’s geologic, groundwater, energy, and mineral resources essential for responsible and sustainable resource development, as well as educating the public about natural hazards. The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, established by State Statute in 1919, is a non-regulatory department of Montana Tech of The University of Montana. The Bureau is the State's geological research agency and as such conducts investigations and evaluates and disseminates information on Montana geology, and mineral, energy, and groundwater resources. With offices in Butte and Billings, a budget of $ 6.5M/year, and a staff of about 60 the MBMG maintains strong programs in groundwater resource evaluation, geologic mapping, environmental hydrogeology, mineral and energy resource evaluation, geologic hazard evaluation, and earthquake studies. Additionally, the MBMG curates one of the finest mineral museums in the Pacific Northwest, and serves as the state repository for water-well logs, groundwater data, and mineral information. The MBMG maintains organic and inorganic analytical laboratories, and active GIS and Information Services divisions. The MBMG is a leader in groundwater and geologic database development and in providing online digital data, maps and reports. The MBMG also provides technical assistance to the public, state and federal agencies, and industry. More information about the MBMG can be found on its web-site, The Director embraces and encourages a collegial administrative/leadership style while promoting high-quality applied geoscience research that benefits the state of Montana. The MBMG, in addition to being the State geological survey, is a department of Montana Tech, and thereby collaborates closely with the university’s faculty, students and research groups. The Director works with Montana Tech, the Montana University System, and the state legislature to justify funding for, and advance the mission of the MBMG. In addition, the Director seeks external funding beyond legislative appropriations, maintains an awareness of significant geoscience research developments and applications, and integrates this knowledge with an understanding of the needs of Montana so that new advances are incorporated into long-term research planning. The position reports directly to the Chancellor of Montana Tech. The anticipated appointment date is October 1, 2012.

Required qualifications include: a doctorate and at least ten years of closely related geoscience experience; administrative experience in budgeting, personnel management, and program development, experience addressing natural resource (oil, gas, mineral, water) public-policy issues as demonstrated in publications and in the interaction with governmental and non-governmental groups, or others; certification as a professional geologist or registered mining engineer at time of appointment (or within three years of appointment); and excellent communication skills with both scientific and public audiences.

Montana Tech is located in beautiful and geologically interesting southwest Montana, in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, midway between Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. There are abundant opportunities for recreation including skiing and other winter sports, camping, hiking, biking, world-class fishing, and civic opportunities in the historic city of Butte and the vicinity. The state of Montana is fiscally sound and has ended recent fiscal years with budget surpluses.

For more information visit Submit a cover letter addressing qualifications, resume’, authorization for background check (obtained at above web address) and contact information for a minimum of 3 professional references to Montana Tech Personnel Office, 1300 West Park Street, Butte, MT 59701. EEO/AA

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Statemap awards 1993-2012

Since it's inception in 1993, the Statemap component of the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Act has provided State Geological Surveys with over $95 million to complete geologic mapping of the nation. The states have more than matched that with their own funds.

The graph at right summarizes funding by state for the past four years.