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Geology News
Mining Current Events

History of the San Manuel-Kalamazoo Mine
April 3, 2014 | Arizona Geological Survey Repository

The Arizona Geological Survey has published “History of the San Manuel-Kalamazoo Mine, Pinal County, Arizona” in electronic format.

Rare Earth Elements in New Mexico
March 29, 2014 | Arizona Geological Survey Repository

The Arizona Geological Survey has published Rare Earth Elements Deposits in New Mexico by Ginger McLemore in electronic format. It is from the Proceedings of the 48th Annual Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals, Phoenix, Arizona, April 30 – May 4, 2012.

Exhuming Mining Equipment at Bingham Canyon
March 27, 2014 | Deseret News

Deseret News has an article about the work now being done to exhume the mining equipment buried by the 165 million ton landslide that occurred at the Bingham Canyon Mine.

Rare Earth Recycling?
March 20, 2014 | ScienceLine @ NYU

“Some experts think that recycled rare earths from scrap materials and discarded products may eventually be able to meet up to 40 percent of global demand. That could be a boon for the U.S. and other Western nations, since China now dominates the world market for rare earths and can effectively control their supply and price.” Quoted from

Related: What Are Rare Earth Elements?

History of the Helvetia-Rosemont Mining District
March 20, 2014 | Arizona Daily Independent

The Arizona Daily Independent has a two-part series titled: “History of the Helvetia-Rosemont Mining District”.

You can find Part One here and Part Two here.

The Bunder Diamond Project
March 13, 2014 | Rio Tinto Diamonds

The opening of new diamond mines are rare events anywhere in the world and Rio Tinto’s Bunder Project is the first new diamond mine to open in India in over 40 years.

Related: How Do Diamonds Form?

Copper Consumption Exploding in China
March 11, 2014 | USGS

The graph below shows the trend of copper consumption in the United States, India and China.  Consumption in the US has been about 2 million metric tons per year since about 1980.   Since 2000 consumption in India has  more then doubled, and consumption in China has more than quadrupled.

Related: Facts about Copper

The Largest Graphite Mine Outside of China?
March 9, 2014 |

The Ontario Graphite mine is being reopened and management believes that it will become the largest graphite mine outside of China. Graphite economics have improved since the previous owner closed the mine in 1994.

Mineral Collectors at the Arizona Mineral Museum
March 6, 2014 | Arizona Geological Survey

This video features interviews with several mineral collectors who attended the opening reception for the University of Arizona Mineral Museum and Flandrau Science Center 2014 Exhibit.

World Potash Developments
March 4, 2014 | Arizona Geological Survey Repository

The Arizona Geological Survey published the World Potash Developments paper from the 48th Annual Forum on the Geology of Industrial Minerals held in Scottsdale, April 30 to May 4, 2012.

What Your Homeowner’s Insurance Does Not Cover
March 4, 2014 |

Most homeowners insurance policies have exclusions that make them worthless when the home is damaged by common geologic problems such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, mine subsidence, cavern collapse and expansive soils. When a home is damaged the homeowner often is surprised that his “all perils” policy has these exclusions.

Interactive Energy Map of the United States
March 2, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration has an interactive energy map that allows you to discover the locations of facilities such as natural gas power plants, petroleum refineries, natural gas pipelines, LNG import/export terminals and much more. The choropleth map below shows the photovoltaic solar potential of the 48 states with solar power plants plotted as yellow dots.

Rare Earth Mine in Missouri?
February 9, 2014 | Aljazeera America

This article takes a quick look at the rare earth element potential of the Pea Ridge Mine, located in southeastern Missouri and the Mountain Pass Mine in California.

Related: What are rare earth elements?

Bigger and Bigger and Bigger Copper Deposits
January 26, 2014 | Arizona Geological Survey on YouTube

Although one would expect the largest mineral deposits to be the first ones exploited, the opposite has been true for copper deposits in Arizona. The large deposits have a grade of ore that can more effectively be processed with new technologies.

In this video, Spencer Titley, a pioneer in the understanding of porphyry copper deposits, explains how some of the earliest geologic mapping done by USGS geologists in Arizona is still being used.

Conflict Minerals
January 26, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article about “conflict minerals”. These are minerals that are mined or stolen for the purpose of supporting military operations, particularly in eastern Congo.

Big Rare Earth Find in North Korea?
January 21, 2014 | Voice of America

“A recent geological study indicates North Korea could hold some 216 million tons of rare earth minerals [...] if verified, the discovery would more than double global known sources and be six times the reserves in China, the market leader.” Quoted from the Voice of America article.

Related: rare earth minerals“>What are Rare Earth Elements?

Copper Ore: Supergene Enrichment
January 21, 2014 | Tucson Citizen

David Briggs has another article in the Tucson Citizen. This one on the supergene alteration and mineralization assemblages, which are formed when these sulfide-bearing deposits are exposed to near-surface, oxidizing solutions (groundwater) as they are exhumed by erosion and exposed to weathering.

World Potash Developments
January 19, 2014 | Arizona Geological Survey

“Potash is a non-renewable resource that is a key ingredient in fertilizer along with phosphate and nitrogen. Increased demand for fertilizers and potash has driven potash prices from US$96/tonne in September 1990, to US$203/tonne in July 2007, to US$495/tonne in April, 2012. A dwindling supply of arable land worldwide coupled with population growth requires increased food production from that land.” Quoted from the report.

What is a Porphyry Copper Deposit?
January 14, 2014 | Tucson Citizen

The Tucson Citizen has an article that gives a good introduction to porphyry copper deposits.

Hear Earthquakes Triggered by the Bingham Canyon Mine Landslide
January 7, 2014 | The University of Utah

“Last year’s gigantic landslide at a Utah copper mine probably was the biggest nonvolcanic slide in North America’s modern history, and included two rock avalanches that happened 90 minutes apart and surprisingly triggered 16 small earthquakes.” Quoted from The University of Utah press release.

The story is accompanied by a sound file that allows you to hear the second rock avalanche followed by three earthquakes.

US Energy Mapping System
January 5, 2014 | Energy Information Administration

The Energy Information Administration has an interactive map of energy locations in the United States. You can use it to plot data layers showing the location of wind (see map sample below), coal mines, biomass plants, geothermal, hydroelectric, and many other types of energy projects.

Impact of Arizona Geology on Geologic Concepts
January 1, 2014 | Arizona Geology

“Arizona makes up a tiny fraction of the land surface on Earth. However, it has had a comparatively larger impact on the evolution of geologic concepts, especially in three areas of geologic inquiry: (1) porphyry copper deposits, (2) metamorphic core complexes, and (3) evolution of large rivers.” Quoted from the Arizona Geology article.

Landslide on an Incredible Scale
December 26, 2013 | The Landslide Blog

A post on the Landslide Blog from 2008 includes a video of a megalandslide in Malasia that occurred in 1993. It appears to be at a mining operation that had excavated below sea level and very close to the coastline. In the last stages of the slide the sea rushes in.

Australia and the United States Are Producing Rare Earths Again
December 17, 2013 |

After China restricts their exports of rare earth elements, the United States and Australia are back in production.

December 15, 2013 |

Turquoise is a blue to blue-green gem material that has been used by people worldwide for over 6000 years.

Bill Magee the Gem Miner
November 24, 2013 |

An interesting video about Bill Magee, a gem miner who lived and found lots of gems in southern California. (His big find – about 1 1/2 tons of morganite crystals – is at about 22:30.)

The Worlds Largest Emerald Mine
November 14, 2013 | Gemfields Plc on YouTube

This video shows a few activities at Gemfields’s Kagem Emerald Mine in Zambia.

Most Viewed News in October
November 1, 2013 |

Egypt Fears a Dam on the Nile in Ethiopia

235 Carat Diamond Found in Siberia

Status of Recent Geoscience Graduates

Nice Yellow Diamond Found in Arkansas

What Caused the Sudden Explosion of Animal Life 520MYA?

Walking Away from One of the World’s Largest Gold Discoveries?

Shell Walks Away from Oil Shale

Granitizers vs Magmatists

Arizona Mining Review for October
November 1, 2013 | Arizona Geological Survey on YouTube

News and events on mining in Arizona during October, 2013.

** Nyal Niemuth takes a hard look at AZ minerals industry – a lot of concern as some promising project are mothballed for lack of funds. (0:30)

** Hall Stewart of Commonwealth Silver discusses new development in one of AZ’s oldest and most productive silver properties. (8:21)

** Steve Rauzi focuses on our new AZ Oil and Gas Well viewer as a window into AZ’s subsurface and how this can inform environmental, water, minerals, oil and gas studies/exploration. (20:13)

The Government Shutdown and Geology
October 15, 2013 | American Geophysical Union

The American Geophysical Union has a short article that explains why the “Government Shutdown Affects More Than Jobs“.

October 13, 2013 |

Ametrine, a combination of amethyst and citrine is a bicolor quartz and a gemstone of growing popularity.

It is produced commercially from just one mine in the world, located in eastern Bolivia.

Walking Away from One of the World’s Largest Gold Discoveries?
September 30, 2013 |

A speculative article on Bloomberg Businessweek explores why Anglo American walked away from six years of work and an investment of 1/2 billion dollars in what might become one of the world’s richest gold mines.

Copper Silver and Manganese Mining in Arizona
September 29, 2013 | Arizona Geological Survey on YouTube

The Arizona Geological Survey has a video, that features the status of copper, silver and manganese mining operations that are planned for Arizona.

It also includes an interview with the AGS digital librarian who is working to place decades of historical mining reports, maps, photos and other documents online for free public use. These documents come from government, company and personal collections and include thousands of site reports.

The Bayou Corne Sinkhole
September 29, 2013 | New York Times

An article on the New York Times website tells about the Bayou Corne Sinkhole, located in Louisiana above a salt dome where about 25 acres have subsided. The salt dome has been solution mined and the cavities produced by that mining have been used to store a variety of petroleum products.

Related: What is a Salt Dome?

Sapphire Mining in Madagascar
September 23, 2013 | Gemological Institute of America

The Gemological Institute of America has an article about mining sapphires from the Ilakaka-Sakaraha deposit – the world’s largest sapphire producer.

Related: Corundum – The Mineral of Sapphire and Ruby

Digitizing, Cataloging, and Publishing Arizona’s Mining Legacy
September 12, 2013 | Arizona Geological Survey

Arizona Geology Magazine has an article that describes the work being done to place an archive of information about mining in Arizona online for public access.

Recovering Rare Earth Elements from Mine Tailings?
September 6, 2013 | USGS

“USGS scientists are reanalyzing rocks, minerals and associated mine tailing samples – some collected 120 years ago – to assess their rare and critical elements, which could become potential for economic development.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

Related: What are rare earth elements?

Clearing the Bingham Canyon Landslide
September 6, 2013 |

An 1800-ton shovel has been moved to the Bingham Canyon Mine where a 165 million-ton landslide brought production to a halt. So far they have removed 6 million tons from the head of the slide.

The Many Uses of Marble
August 21, 2013 |

From monuments to crushed stone to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, very few rocks have as many uses as marble.

Related: Limestone, the Marble Protolith.

Potash Price Collapse?
August 1, 2013 | Arizona Geology Blog

“The world’s potash industry imploded today as Russia’s Uralkali withdrew from the Belarus Potash Corporation one of two global potash cartels that control about 70% of the world’s potash production. ” Quoted from the Arizona Geology Blog.

Uses of Chromium
July 24, 2013 | United States Geological Survey

Chromium has many uses that range from the pigment that produces the familiar “chrome yellow” of school buses and highway lines to the metal used to create an alloy that we know as “stainless steel”.

Related: Chromite – the only ore of chromium.

Review of the Bingham Canyon Slide
July 23, 2013 |

The website has an article titled: “Inside Bingham Canyon — N. American mining’s largest, most successful landslide”.

Related: Landslide Hazards (USGS)

Top Diamond Producers
July 18, 2013 |

Botswana, Russia and Canada retained their positions as the top three gem quality diamond producers for 2012 according to production estimates from the United States Geological Survey.

Related: Diamond Mines in Canada

Don’t Swim in Quarries
July 18, 2013 |

Hot weather often lures people into taking a swim in an abandon quarry. That’s not a safe thing to do. In the past few weeks, four people have drowned in quarries in the UK.

In the United States, swimming and other accidents claim 20 to 30 lives in quarries each year.

Most Popular: July 1 to July 15
July 17, 2013 |


Caves Discovered by Construction Projects

100 Million Barrel Discovery in the Gulf?

Six Planets – Three in Habitable Zone

Oil Industry Job Profiles

Monsoon Rains and Debris Flows in Arizona

Sky Islands

Yosemite Falls

Uses of Nickel
July 14, 2013 | USGS

“Nickel is a silvery-white metal that is used mainly to make stainless steel and other alloys stronger and better able to withstand extreme temperatures and corrosive environments.” Quoted from the USGS Fact Sheet

Why Would a Mining Company Build a Bat Cave?
June 19, 2013 | Caving News

A mining operation in Connecticut is building a hibernaculum with the hope that they can use it to attract a colony of bats which currently occupies an abandon mine.

Arizona Mining Review
June 13, 2013 | Arizona Mining Review

Topics in the most recent Arizona Mining Review:

* Joe Bardswich – Moss Gold Mine
* Jerry Aiken and Matt Monte – Holbrook Potash Mine
* David Newlin – community response to potash mining at Holbrook
* Niemuth – mining news
* Kim Patten and Christy Caudill – National Geothermal Data System

United States Gemstones
June 11, 2013 |

A diversity of gemstones are produced in the United States. However, the $11 million per year in domestic production is tiny compared to the $23.5 billion that are imported.

Most Popular May 16 to May 31
June 4, 2013 |

When Did Plate Tectonics Begin?

Large Impact on the Moon

Mount St. Helens – 33 Years

Popocatepetl Eruption

History of the Prime Meridian

The Orphan Tsunami of 1700

We are constantly looking for interesting items related to geology and general science. When we find something interesting we share it here. Bookmark this page and visit often. You can also receive our news for free by RSS feed or email. We publish updates three or four days per week.

Homeowners InsuranceHomeowners Insurance usually does not cover damage caused by floods, landslides, earthquakes and other geohazards.
frac sandFrac Sand is a high-purity silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing to enhance the flow of oil and gas from tight rock units.
Diamond formationDiamonds from Coal? Diamonds form under a variety of conditions that rarely involve coal as a source of carbon.
fluorescent mineralsFluorescent Minerals glow with spectacular colors when illuminated in the dark with an ultraviolet lamp.
Uses of heliumHelium is a byproduct of the natural gas industry. Its most important use is in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
Canada diamond minesCanada Diamond Mines: Canada is the third largest producer of gem-quality diamonds in the world.
Utica shaleUtica Shale: New wells in eastern Ohio prove that the Utica Shale will be a major source of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Green River fossilsSpectacular Fossils of the Green River Formation. Some of the world's best-preserved fossil fish from an intermountain lake.
OpalOpals: Gem quality opal is one of the most spectacular gemstones. A single stone can flash with every color of the spectrum.
NovaruptaMost Powerful Eruption of the 20th Century: People in Juneau heard the volcanic blast - over one hour after it occurred.

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