Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Art Socolow, 1921-2013, former State Geologist of Pennsylvania

We are saddened to learn that Arthur ("Art") Socolow passed away yesterday after several years of failing health.   His son Roy reports that the family had a chance to say goodbye in the morning before he passed and even got a chance to celebrate his 92nd birthday on Saturday when he ate some cake and ice cream.

Art was appointed Director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Topographic and Geologic Survey and State Geologist in 1961.  He received the AGI Medal in Memory of Ian Campbell in 2007.  The citation by Walter Anderson offers a brief biography.

Memorial funeral services will be held on Thursday, Mar. 28, 2013 at noon at:
Stanetsky Memorial Chapels,10 Vinnin St, Salem, Massachusetts, followed by graveside services at Beechbrook Cemetery in Gloucester, MA.

Update (3-27-13):  Art's obituary is available at

Friday, March 22, 2013

Florida State Geologist tells New Yorker magazine about sinkholes

 Jon Arthur, State Geologist of Florida, was interviewed for the "Annals of Disaster: Notes from Underground" column in New Yorker magazine, following the recent sinkhole fatality.  The first part of the article can be read without a digital subscription.  [Below, excerpt from Florida Geological Survey sinkhole poster]

Saturday, March 09, 2013

New Mexico's Ginger McLemore showcased in Women in Mining series

 The National Mining Association is profiling women in mining with a feature on Virginia "Ginger" McLemore from the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Resources in Socorro, NM.   We appreciate NMA for granting approval to reprint the full profile below:

Women in the mining field will grow an incredible nine percent by 2019. With 1.2 million American jobs supported by minerals mining, it is no wonder that women have found a home in mining. Not only that, but the average salary for an employee in the sector is $85,504 a year and often climbs above $100,000. These women in mining are bringing unique skills in math and science to this male-dominated industry, proving that women can conquer all. 

Spotlight on Ginger
Ever since Ginger McLemore was in junior high school she knew she wanted to be a geologist. She grew up in Baltimore and when it was time to go to college, she instinctively looked at the Colorado School of Mines, but instead set her sights on the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. In her current job she works in the Applied Research department, where she is the senior economic geologist for the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.  Throughout her career, Ginger has been given the ability and opportunity to set her own projects and continue to work on what she finds most interesting. 

When Ginger first started work in in the 1980s, it was a much different scene. Women were in the field—but they had just started trickling in. Ginger mentioned, “I had two children at the time and the industry just did not know how to handle it.” But now she says it’s a much different scene; the industry now understands when women need to take their kids to school or leave for an assembly.
Over the past 15 years, the industry has grown. When Ginger was in school, she was the only women in her field camp. When the students would take field trips to the mine, the mine owners would say that women were not allowed to come in. But when the professor threatened to leave with all the students, the mine changed their mind.  

Ginger says that she is happy women are being recognized for their achievements in mining. Back then, the ratio of women to men was 1:5 – perhaps even lower – but as time has passed, the ratio has shifted to 3:5. She even added that at the New Mexico Geological Survey there are more females on the executive board than males. 

Lastly, she tells young women interested in the field, “you’ll never be bored. It will always be challenging and you have the opportunity to do things you could have never imagined.”
Virginia “Ginger” McLemore currently serves as the senior economic geologist for the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources and the Minerals Outreach Liaison for the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. She joined the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources in 1980 and was promoted to senior geologist in 1993.

She specializes in mineral resources in New Mexico (geology, origin, resource potential, water resources, environmental assessment, impacts on water resources, reclamation, sustainable development; see current projects) and the geology and history of mining districts in New Mexico. She also holds memberships to several professional societies related to minerals mining.

Texas State Geologist's shale gas study drawing national attention

 Scott Tinker, State Geologist of Texas, is one of the authors of a new study that is drawing a lot of national attention.  It forecasts the 5,000 square mile Barnett Shale will produce a cumulative 44 trillion cubic feet of recoverable gas by 2030.   U.S. consumption of natural gas in 2011 was about 24.4 trillion cubic feet overall.    The study, conducted by the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) at The University of Texas at Austin, was  funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  [Right, 30-year natural gas productivity of the Barnett Shale. Credit, UT Austin]

The news coverage includes the following stories:

Gas Boom Projected to Grow for Decades
Russell Gold, Wall Street Journal, Feb. 28

Texas Study Points To A Longer Natural Gas Boom
by Wade Goodwynm NPR

Barnett Shale Output to Tumble Through 2030, Study Says
Bloomberg, Joe Carroll, Feb. 28

U.S. Barnett shale to pump natural gas to 2050
Reuters, Feb. 28

Energy boom will last for decades, UT study finds
Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express News, By Jennifer Hiller | February 28, 2013

They're Going to Be Fracking the Barnett Shale for a Long Time to Come
By Eric Nicholson
Dallas Observer, Feb. 28 2013 at 2:48 PM

Study: Barnett gas field to produce through 2030. By 2050, gas extraction at Barnett Shale likely to wind down, UT researchers say.
Asher Price, Austin American Statesman

America Is Just At The Beginning Of A Gas Boom That Will Last For Decades
Rob Wile, Business Insider, Feb. 28

Study Finds Potential Gas Boom in US 
Thursday, 28 Feb 2013 12:25 PM
Lisa Barron, Newsmax

Barnett Shale Blog: New Barnett Shale study sees production through 2030
Jim Fuquay, February 28, 2013

Natural gas production is picking up across the country, especially right here in Texas.
KFDA, News Channel 10 [Dallas]

Shale Gas Fracking Will Be Around For a Long, Long Time
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones [Blog]

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Sinkhole season in Florida

Florida State Geologist  Jon Arthur warns that the state is entering the rainy season and it's annual 'sinkhole season.'  According to an AP story, he said he "looked at 50 years of data and found that there is usually an uptick of reported sinkholes in February, with an increase until about July, when activity tapers off."  [Right, credit Florida Geological Survey]

Iowa Survey discovers Ordovician impact crater

The Iowa Geological and Water Survey, in partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey,  have found evidence for a 3-mile meteor crater under the city of Decorah, Iowa, that appears to have been formed in the Ordovician by a 200-meter wide meteorite.   [Right, 3-dimensional view of Decorah, Iowa and the Upper Iowa River. Scene is looking due north. Credit, USGS]

[Below, maps showing electro-magnetic, well data and aggregate results over the crater. Credit, USGS]