Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Colorado State Geologist warns of natural resource depletion

Colorado State Geologist Vince Matthews[right, credit CGS] warns that “We’re depleting natural resources all over the world," and are increasingly at risk of shortages of energy and minerals. Vince spoke at the recent 3-D Seismic Symposium in Denver and his talk is reported in the June issue of AAPG Explorer magazine (p12).

He's quoted as saying "a total of 50 percent of all copper mined and 50 percent of all oil consumed has taken place since 1985." In addition, international companies, many nationally owned, are buying up U.S. reserves of energy and minerals which may mean that we wake up one day and discover we don't own them any more.

Colorado looks to Raton Basin for geothermal electricity

Paul Morgan, with the Colorado Geological Survey says that if sedimentary basin geothermal energy can be developed in the Raton basin, it can be done in many other basins and "a lot of the uncertainty of geothermal can be removed."

Paul is interviewed in the June issue of the AAPG Explorer magazine on geothermal energy. [right, Colorado heat flow map. Credit, CGS]

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Opening for Wyoming State Geologist

Applications for the Wyoming State Geologist are being invited:

The State of Wyoming is seeking applicants for the cabinet level position of State Geologist/Director of the Wyoming State Geological Survey, located in Laramie, Wyoming. The State Geologist is the chief administrator of the Wyoming Geological Survey, as well as a member of various boards, commissions and groups in Wyoming. Résumés accepted through September 15th, 2011.

For further details and a full job description, contact Colin McKee, Wyoming Governor’s office:

Phone: 307-777-7434 or


An EEO/ADA employer

Thursday, July 21, 2011

3D geologic mapping by geological surveys

The Illinois State Geological Survey and British Geological jointly published a compilation of articles on 3D geologic mapping and modeling being done in geological surveys worldwide. [right, Lake County, Illinois, showing data, cross sections, surficial and 3D geology]

Ref: Synopsis of Current Three-dimensional Geological Mapping and Modeling in Geological Survey Organizations
, ISGS Circular 578, 2011, 92p.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NY Survey deals with largest landslide in state history

A landslide taking place since May, 2011 is now considered to be the largest recorded landslide in New York State [right, progression of landslide, May 10-31, 2011]. Over 82 acres of earth are moving, albeit slowly, but steadily. Unlike the movie version of landslides in which rocks and boulders and fast-moving earth quickly destroy everything in its path, most true landslides are slow-moving. Early measurements taken the U.S. Geological Survey indicate the hillside moving downward at the rate of about 1 millimeter an hour along a mile-long fault. This is considerable when you take into account that the foundation of several homes located along the site are being moved as well.

However, in recent weeks, some parts of the slide have actually accelerated. Over a three-day period in June, a shift of 150 feet downhill was recorded. Dry weather should help slow the slide as water is removed from the soil, but rain and snow from upcoming seasons can continue to destabilized the area.

In the News:
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[reprinted from the NY State Geological Survey website]

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Arkansas earthquake story on NPR

Arkansas Geological Survey's Scott Ausbrooks is one of the experts interviewed in a 13-minute special segment on National Public Radio yesterday. The segment is titled, "Bonnie 'Prince' Billy's Earthquake Ballad." The producers" shared the community's voices with musician Will Oldham, aka Bonnie "Prince" Billy, who contributed an original song, "Mother Nature Kneels," based on their stories." You can listen to the audio or read the transcript online.

[right, recent earthquakes in Arkansas. Credit, Arkansas Geological Survey]

Thursday, July 07, 2011

North Carolina solution to landslides - kill the landslide mapping program

North Carolina and Tennessee have spent $20 million in the last 6 months to repair damage to major roads from landslides, rockfalls, and mudslides. So what is North Carolina's response? The Legislature voted to eliminate the landslide mapping program at the North Carolina Geological Survey, nominally as a budget saving effort.

However, news reports describe opposition to the landslide mapping program home builders, real estate interests, and local and state officials, who fear that disclosure of landslide risk will discourage buyers, especially those from out of state. [right, demolished remains of a residence at the location of a fatal debris flow on Dec. 11, 2003 near Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Much of the demolition took place during the effort to rescue the victim buried in the back of the house. The embankment failure that originated in the scarp in the background mobilized into a debris flow. Credit, NCGS]

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Interim Director of New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources

L. Greer Price will be the interim director of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources until a replacement is hired for retiring State Geologist Peter Scholle. Peter will stay on as an Emeritus member of the Bureau and New Mexico Tech, and will continue to be active in AASG. [that's Greer on the left]

Friday, July 01, 2011

Profile of retiring Delaware State Geologist John Talley

Delaware State Geologist John Talley [right. Credit, UDel] has just retired and the University of Delaware published a nice review of his career and accomplishments.

“John’s leadership and his incredible record of making connections with state and local governments, nonprofits, and other groups have made a lasting impact on DGS and its mission,” said Nancy Targett, dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, the administrative home of DGS.

DGS Senior Scientist Peter McLaughlin will serve as interim director until a replacement is hired.