Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Alaska's 2012 Strategic & Critical Minerals Conference

On November 30, 2012, the State of Alaska and the University of Alaska Fairbanks hosted their second annual Strategic & Critical Minerals Summit bringing together government, university and private sector officials from around the world to discuss the potential for strategic mineral exploration, development and processing in Alaska. Speakers also discussed public policy and regulatory issues pertaining to mineral development.

The following presentations are available from the sold-out event in Fairbanks. A summary report will be published at a later date.

Dan Sullivan, Alaska Natural Resources Commissioner, Update on the State of Alaska Strategic Minerals Initiative PDF
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, Video

Bob Swenson, Alaska State Geologist and Director, Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Alaska Strategic & Critical Minerals Potential and Assessment PDF

Larry Meinert, Minerals Resources Program Director, U.S. Geological Survey Video

Curt Freeman, President, Avalon Development Corp., Strategic & Critical Metals in Alaska: A Mining Industry Perspective PDF

Ed Fogels, Deputy Commissioner, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Access to our Land and Resources PDF

Ethan Schutt, Senior Vice President, Land & Energy Development, CIRI, PDF

Matt Ganley, Vice President, Resources & External Affairs, Bering Straits Regional Corp., Mining Potential and Mineral Access in the Bering Strait Region PDF
Lance Miller, Vice President, Natural Resources, NANA Regional Corp., Strategic Mineral Development is Critical for Sustainable Economies PDF
Michael Silver, President and Chairman of the Board, American Elements, The Coming Global Resource Scarcity: America & Alaska's Role PDF

Dan McGroarty, President, American Resources Policy Network, Slideshow

Hiroyuki Katayama, Assistant General Manager, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals Corporation (Vancouver Office), JOGMEC's Role in Securing the Supply of Critical Minerals PDF
Mark Myers, Vice Chancellor for Research, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Mineral and Mining Research at UAF PDF
Ken Collison, Chief Operating Officer, Ucore Rare Metals, Bokan Mountain Heavy Rare Earths PDF
Mark Davis, Deputy Director, Infrastructure Development, Alaska Industrial Development & Export Authority, AIDEA: Investing in Alaskans PDF

Tom Crafford, Director, DNR Office of Project Management & Permitting, Large Mine Permitting in Alaska PDF

Mary Sattler, Manager, Community Development & Sustainability, Donlin Gold, PDF

[excerpted from the Commissioner's Office, Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources]

Monday, January 28, 2013

Candidates sought for Director of Michigan Geological Survey

 Department of Geosciences, College of Arts and Sciences

Seeks Candidates for Director of Michigan Survey

The Michigan Geological Survey (SGS) has been recently relocated to Western Michigan University Department of Geosciences (http://www.geology.wmich.edu/). This is a terminal, two year appointment.  Appointment to the position beyond two years will be on a year-to-year basis and contingent upon the incumbent’s achievement and receipt of external funding.  Responsibilities of the Director include:  (1) administering MGS as an entity of WMU Department of Geosciences; (2) supervising the activities of various operational units within the MGS including mapping, subsurface geology, energy and mineral resources, geologic hazards, research and education, and water resources; (3) developing strategic long term plans for the MGS, developing new programs and funding initiatives, and developing and implementing budgetary plans, (4) writing annual proposals for STATEMAP and Great Lakes Mapping Coalition grants, supervising field work, and producing maps meeting standards of the U.S. Geological Survey. (5) writing research proposals and reports, publishing research findings, and presenting at local, regional, national and international venues, (6)  attending relevant national meetings for Survey Directors, (7)  leading and/or collaborating on various research projects with colleagues at MGS and the Department of Geosciences, with other WMU departments and programs, and with external entities at the local, state and national levels, and (8) acting as a liaison between MGS and other WMU committees and programs, as well as external entities at the local, state and national levels interested/involved with MGS related research, repository or outreach initiatives.  Minimum qualifications include: MS Degree in Geology, or an equivalent geosciences discipline, and significant experience in industry, academia or a state geological survey. The appointments will begin in December 2012. Applicants should submit on-line a cover letter, curriculum vitae using the following website: http://www.wmich.edu/hr/careers-at-wmu.html and names and contact information for three references. Inquiries should be addressed to Dr. Mohamed Sultan (mohamed.sultan@wmich.edu). Review of applications will begin October 31, 2012 and continue until position is filled. Western Michigan University is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer consistent with applicable federal and state law.

Western Michigan University (WMU), located in Southwest Michigan, is a vibrant, nationally recognized student-centered research institution with an enrollment of nearly 25,000. WMU delivers high-quality undergraduate instruction, has a strong graduate division, and fosters significant research activities. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching has placed WMU among the 76 public institutions in the nation designated as research universities with high research activities.

Salary:  Competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience, with an excellent benefits package.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Transition at New York State Geological Survey

Today is the last day for Langhorne "Taury" Smith [right, credit NYSGS] as State Geologist and Director of the New York State Geological Survey, which is part of the New York State Museum.  He starts next week as a full-time consultant.  Assistant State Geologist Andy Kozlowski will be acting director for the foreseeable future. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Idaho Geological Survey and U-Idaho Explore for Geothermal Energy

MOSCOW, Idaho – In an effort to provide the most accurate assessment of high-temperature geothermal energy potential in the region, the Idaho Geological Survey recently drilled new wells in southeastern Idaho.  [Right, existing geothermal map of Idaho.  Credit, INEEL, 2003]

“These new thermal gradient wells will provide the first accurate picture of the heat flow regime beneath this important volcanic province,” said project leader John Welhan, University of Idaho faculty member and Idaho Geological Survey research geologist.

Workers successfully completed installation of three wells in the Blackfoot-Gem Valley volcanic field of southeastern Idaho during the fourth quarter of 2012. The wells were drilled within an 18-mile radius of China Hat, a 60,000-year-old region of volcanic rock near Soda Springs, Idaho.

The wells allow researchers to precisely measure heat coming out of the Earth, which will help them better understand Idaho’s geologic framework, in addition to offering insight into the region’s geothermal energy potential.

The China Hat area does not have surface features such as geysers or hot springs that usually indicate potential for geothermal energy. Welhan said the area almost certainly has deep-seated heat sources that are masked by cold groundwater flowing through the surrounding basalt.

“Southeast Idaho hosts one of the most puzzling combinations of geothermal-related phenomena in North America,” said Mike McCurry, a volcanologist at Idaho State University who is collaborating with the IGS.

A key goal of the heat flow drilling program is to test whether the presence of thrust faults – horizontal breaks in the Earth’s crust that can extend for miles – affect how groundwater interacts with the cooling magma to redistribute heat in the shallow crust.

If so, this could explain why magmatic heat beneath China Hat has only a minor effect on the surface and why hot brines found in the adjacent Idaho-Wyoming thrust belt are so hot. These brines have been observed in oil and gas wildcat wells as far as 22 miles east of the Great Basin region, in which the China Hat volcanoes erupted. 

The brines range from 320 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit at 9,500- to 16,000-foot depths and may represent China Hat’s “missing” heat. Groundwater and hydrothermal fluids, heated to high temperatures by magma deep beneath China Hat, migrate along these thrust faults to collect in shallower reservoirs far from the source of the heat.

A key part of the drilling project’s success has been the ongoing geothermal data compilation effort for the National Geothermal Data System project. The availability of such data has allowed researchers to formulate hypotheses on the Blackfoot-Gem Valley volcanic field’s geothermal potential that will be tested with the data acquired from the newly drilled wells.

The data also can be accessed by any business or individual interested in Idaho’s geothermal potential, whether for energy production, heating systems, greenhouses or other uses.

The next steps in the drilling program will be thermal profiling of the new wells, measuring the rocks’ thermal properties and performing heat flow calculations. The Idaho Geological Survey will accomplish this during the first half of 2013 in collaboration with the Utah Geological Survey, University of Utah and the Idaho National Laboratory. 

Data from the project are now available on the National Geothermal Data System website, www.geothermaldata.org, and will be available in expanded format during summer 2013 on the Idaho Geological Survey website, www.idahogeology.org.

Idaho’s heat flow drilling project and NGDS data compilation project are funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Arizona Geological Survey and the University of Idaho.

The Idaho Geological Survey is a public service and research agency at the University of Idaho. Idaho statute directs the survey to collect, interpret and disseminate geologic and mineral data for the state. Members of the Idaho Geological Survey staff acquire geologic information through field and laboratory investigations and through cooperative programs with other governmental and private agencies.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ned Nobel, former State Geologist of North Dakota, 1922-2013

We are sad to report that former North Dakota State Geologist Edwin (Ned) Austin Noble passed away on January 3, 2013 at the age of 90.  Ned served as Assistant State Geologist from 1965 to 1969 under Wilson M. Laird and State Geologist and Chairman of the Geology Department at the University of North Dakota from 1969 to 1978.  Lee C. Gerhard served as Assistant State Geologist under Ned and became State Geologist and Department Chairman when Ned left.  Ned served as AASG Editor from 1971 until 1978.

Ned was born in Bethel, Vermont on December 15, 1922, to Mary and John Noble. He had a lifelong interest in natural history and also a lifelong interest in sports. He enjoyed reading daily newspapers and later watching the news.  While studying at Tufts University he was called to serve in the First Infantry Division (“The Big Red One”) of the Army during World War II.  He saw extensive combat and received two bronze stars for valor in the battlefield while fighting in the Ardennes and the Rhineland. He returned to Tufts after the war where he met his wife Polly. He then studied at the University of New Mexico and later received his PhD in Geology from the University of Wyoming. He worked in the Exploration Division of the Atomic Energy Commission on the Colorado Plateau and later in Argentina as a United Nations advisor to their uranium program.  After working for the North Dakota Geological Survey, Ned went to work for the USGS in Reston, VA, and spent five years working in Pakistan on a USAID energy resource program for which he received the Meritorious Service Award in 1991.

A memorial service will be held in Reston, Virginia for Ned in the Spring and interment will be in the family cemetery in Bethel, Vermont. Memorial gifts may be made to any human rights or animal protection society in his name. To access an oral military history and interview, please visit adamsgreen.com for information.  Polly can be reached at 11407 Great Meadow Drive, Reston, Virginia 20191.

[Contributed by Ed Murphy, NDGS]
Modified from the Washington Post (1/8/2013)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Arizona Geological Surveys celebrates 125th anniversary

The Arizona Geological Survey turns 125 this year.

In 1883, then Territorial Governor Tritle, requested federal assistance in establishing a geologic survey for the Arizona Territory.  The U.S. Congress responded in 1888 by creating the post of Territorial Geologist of Arizona.  The unpaid position of Territorial Geologist first went to John F. Blandy, who served until the mid-1890s [left].

Subsequently, the Office moved to the newly established University of Arizona where we operated under a variety of names, mostly often the Bureau of Mines, until we split off in 1988 as an independent state agency with our current name.

Celebratory events in the works:
  • GeoSnaps – geologic snapshots capturing Arizona’s geologic setting and mining history with a picture of the day from 1 January through 31 December 2013
  • Arizona Mining Review – a monthly online video revue hosted by AZGS to discuss Arizona mining – past, present and future
  • Release of new & old geologic products bearing our 1888 – 2013, 125th anniversary logo
  • Symposium on 125 Years of Arizona Geology (arrangements pending)
  • Symposium on Arizona Geology at the 2013 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting – Denver, Colorado (pending)
  • Timeline graphic demarcating milestones in the history of Arizona geology
  • A retrospective review on the state of geology of Arizona ca. 1888.  Arizona Geology Magazine 125th year anniversary issue
  • 125th anniversary field trip(s)