Saturday, November 22, 2014

How did we miss this story about vampires in abandoned mines in Arizona?

Well, Arizona, it looks like we had a chance to rid Arizona of vampires in our abandoned mines, but we blew it.   

Joe Hart won re-election as State Mine Inspector  a couple weeks back with over 1 million votes or 98.29% of the votes cast.   There was no organized opposition, but write-in votes totaled 18,312.  The Secretary of State's office has not posted who got those write-ins but I wonder if some of them didn't go to write-in candidate Ian Kobe who ran on a campaign of "No Arizona Mine Draculas."

His Facebook site (his only campaign outlet?) says "A vote for Ian Kobe is a vote for an AZ with less Draculas!" [sic] and laments that children cannot play in abandoned copper mines because Joe Hart has not cleaned out the vampire dens.

I know and work with Joe. I interviewed him on our video magazine "Arizona Mining Review" and I have to admit, never once has he mentioned vampires, let alone vampires in mines, active or abandoned. Joe, all I can say is that I'm speechless!

And the Arizona news media, obviously beholden to the pro-vampire community, ignored this burning issue in the Mine Inspector's race.  I had to read the Chicago Sun Times to find out about it.   


And all this raises the question that if the mines are full of vampires, can zombies be far behind?

So kids, you're going to have to stay out of those old mines for a while longer.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Grand Canyon North Rim quake

A magnitude 2.9 earthquake occurred  shortly after noon today on the north side of Grand Canyon.  The USGS placed the epicenter about 19 miles northwest of Grand Canyon Village, but Dr. Jeri Young who runs the Arizona Broadband Seismic Network here at AZGS, places it further northeast. [Right, red star marks USGS epicenter.   The red circle marked "112114" marks the AZGS location]

Jeri used 3 of Northern Arizona University's nearby analog seismic stations and a different crustal velocity model than the USGS model.     However, they  used 42 phases and we used only 9 in making the calculation, so we are not sure which is the more accurate location.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Investors keep sand operation running on Navajo Reservation

Preferred Sands is one of the largest providers of sand for oil and gas production in the country, and their Arizona plant has the company's largest reserves.   According to a story in Reuters,  "privately held Preferred Sands produces and distributes frac sand and proppant materials used predominately in oil and gas shale drilling. Its network of mines have the capacity to produce more than 9 billion pounds of sand every year."

 Private equity firm KKR & Co LP invested $680 million in the company to shore up its operations.  
Moody's Investors Service said "the company's woes to competition in the frac sand industry, its lack of high-quality sand reserves, and a less developed logistical network relative to its major rivals."

Preferred Sands of Arizona says it has a total reserve size of 130 million tons of coarse sand.   The Arizona mine is located 150 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation. The plant is capable of producing approximately 2 million tons per year.

Resolution Copper shaft is deepest in North America

Shaft #10 at the Resolution Copper mine in Superior reached its final depth of 6,943 feet (2,116 m). The 28-foot diameter shaft is the deepest single lift shaft in North America, according to the company. [Right top, bottom of shaft #10.  Photo credit, Resolution Copper]

The Resolution mine would produce an estimated 25% of the nation's copper for the next 40 years once it's completed.  [Right bottom, headframe for shaft #10. Photo credit, Nyal Niemuth]

"The completion of this 1.3 mile deep vertical shaft is truly unprecedented in North America,”
said Tom Goodell, General Manager of Shaft Development for the Resolution project. “The safe completion of the project represents a great engineering achievement, and I am particularly proud of the team -- made up mostly of miners from this area -- who made it happen.”

Development of the underground is dependent on a land exchange that needs Congressional approval.

[updated 11-20-14 with top photo]

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Online resources for next year's Tucson gem-mineral-fossil showcase

The folks at Visit Tucson provided updates about the next Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase, which runs  January 31-February 15, 2015. [photo credit Visit Tucson] Here is the latest news:
  • A new wholesale show will move into the Grand Luxe Hotel & Resort, formerly the Grant Inn, at Grant & I-10
  • The Whole Bead Show is now a trunk show located at Homewood Suites by Hilton Tucson/St. Philip's Plaza University on River Road.
  • Tucson Bead Show has relocated to Radisson Suites Tucson on Speedway for 2015.
  • The Holidome show is moving to its own tent and property just west of the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Tucson Airport-North.
They regularly update information on each of these, as well as the 36 other shows, at

The theme for the 2015 Tucson Gem & Mineral Show® is Minerals of Western Europe. Check out the show details using their brand new website at and the Visit Tucson show site at

Tips for staying up to date:
  • Follow them on Twitter (@TucsonGems) and Pinterest (TucsonGems)
  • Visit the website as well as the mobile site at
And during the Showcase:
  • Call Gem Show Hotline at 520-622-GEMS! Staffed 24/7, a joint initiative of Visit Tucson and Tucson Fire Department (Hotline is open January 20-February 15, 2015.)
  • There will be welcome tables at Tucson International Airport (baggage claim areas), running January 28-February 8, 2015 and at Tucson Convention Center during the American Gem Trade Association Show (AGTA) and the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show® (TGMS)
  • Tucson Visitor Center in La Placita Village has all the latest information on Downtown restaurant openings, local attractions and directions. Open Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat.-Sun., 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Stop and chat with one of the City of Tucson’s volunteer docents. You will find them peppered throughout the Downtown area wearing logo’d shirts and ID badges, so you know they are official. They will have the tools necessary to point you in the right direction. This service runs January 30-February 15, 2015.
Thanks to Jane Roxbury and Laurie White at Visit Tucson for the updates.