Ask a Geologist Common Q&A
I'm interested in exploring geothermal energy as an alternative to heating and cooling my home. Is information on geothermal resources of Arizona readily available? Andrew
Hello Andrew: There are a lot of published resources for geothermal resources here in Arizona - see our Geothermal in Arizona page. It appears that you are looking for heat (ground) pump technology, which is frequently exploited to heat and cool homes, even here in Arizona.
- Dept of Energy provides an excellent primer on heat pump technology for homes.
- Ground-Source Geothermal Heating & Cooling in Arizona: A Case Study
- Geothermal resources in Arizona (AZGS ~ 90 Open-File Reports)
- National Geothermal Data System (More than 10 million data objects for all 50 states)
Good luck with the project. MC
Good day, May I purchase a copy of Dave Briggs', 'History of the Verde Mining District, Jerome, Arizona? Paul
Hi Paul, Unfortunately, we no longer sell printed copies of any AZGS reports or geologic maps. We do, however, make them available for download at our AZGS Document Repository. No registration or account required. Dave Briggs 85-p paper on the United Verde Mining District is at http://repository.azgs.az.gov/uri_gin/azgs/dlio/1877.
Thanks for the question. MC
I have some specimens that I collected in NE Arizona on private property. They have been identified as gem quality Moonrock by a couple of local mineral dealers, but that was just upon visual examination. When I test the hardness, these samples seem to be more in the Corundum range at 9 on the Mohs. How can I identify this mineral definitively? Cal
I bet you are referring to moonstone, a feldspar comprising orthoclase and albite that is sometimes found in gem quality. (Moonrock refers to rocks derived from the Earth's moon.)
Characteristics of moonstone: Hardness of ~ 6.0, fracture uneven to conchoidal, opalescent, white streak on porcelain, and specific gravity of 2.61. Sometimes referred to as hecatolite. I hope this helps. MC
Arsenic is considered a natural hazard in Arizona according to your website. Do you have any recent documentation or contamination mapping for arsenic in AZ? Jennym
That's a tough question to answer. I visited the Arizona Dept. of Environmental Quality website and queried 'arsenic'. I received 38 results. Here a link to those results - http://www.azdeq.gov/search/node/arsenic
Of course, the results are generally site specific. An exception is the 2016 Water Quality in Arizona 305(b) Assessment report, which includes water chemistry summaries for major river systems in Arizona.
Univ of Arizona's Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) has a recent piece on arsenic in groundwater, with some discussion of Arizona.
I wish I could be more help. Thanks for the question.
Do you think you have found a meteorite? AZGS
We receive lots of requests to confirm meteorite identification. In most cases the object is a terrestrial rock - basalt, lodestone, gabbro, hornblendite, or a piece of iron-rich slag. Most meteorites are strongly magnetic, there are exceptions, and, of course, there are terrestrial rocks with magnetic properties, e.g., lodestones, so the magnetic test is not in itself definitive.
Our friends at Geology.Com have cobbled together a short, illustrated write-up on how to identify meteorites and meteor-wrongs. You might start here.
I know that naturally occurring radon gas can constitute a health hazard. How do I go about testing the radon concentration in my home? M
Radiogenic radon (222Rn) can constitute a health hazard. Here in Arizona, the radon concentration is moderate, ranging from 2 to 4 picoCuries/liter. Our Center for Natural Hazards has a page dedicated to the nature, distribution, and health hazards of Radon in Arizona.
I found this weird rock while I was out riding . It looks like a cluster of terminated Crystals , and when hit with a UV lite it glows purple, green and white. And some of the crystals look yellow. And when we found more of those rocks it had a smell of Sulfur. Brandi
There is a lot of mineralization in the Globe area, hence all the mining and mines in the area. From what I can see some of the light-colored crystals may be the mineral fluorite. And fluorite, which shows a variety of colors - yellow, purple, white, lavender - will certainly fluoresce. Regarding the sulfur smell, I bet it is simply the earthy (light sulfur) smell commonly associated with mineral deposits.
Fluoride commonly associates with metallic sulfide minerals, such as galena, pyrite …
Can somebody list a few sets of coordinates with precise elevations for each set of coordinates? I'm trying to test an elevation finder for accuracy. Shawn
Try the National Geodetic Survey Data Explorer. They should provide coordinates and elevations of CORS sites (Continuously Operating Reference Stations) that meet your needs. https://www.ngs.noaa.gov/NGSDataExplorer/ .
I have seen a white rock use in landscaping (1 foot in diameter) and about the trails (as small as 1" in diameter) of Oro Valley, AZ near Pusch Ridge on the west side of The Catalina Mtns. Of interest is that this white rock has many, many sparkles like glitter flakes all about it. The glitter is like silver/white in color and the rock sparkles in the light. Is this rock composed of granite? I don't know what the name of the rock is or what is causing this glitter or sparkle. Do you know. I thank you in advance. Thanks, Andy
Andy, I think you are probably referring to the Wilderness Suite Granite exposed along the western front of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Wilderness Suite Granite is a relatively coarse-grained igneous rock with quartz, feldspars (pinkish), and muscovite (small silvery minerals that reflect light and appear glittery. It is probably the latter mineral that catches your eye.
For our illustrated booklet on the western Santa Catalinas, download 'Guide to the Geology of Catalina State Park and the Western Santa Catalina Mountains'. I'm attaching a simple geologic map of the western Santa Catalina's showing the distribution of the Wilderness Suite Granite and other prominent rock units.
How can I find out if I own the mineral rightd to my properties in central AZ? G
G, Establishing who owns the mineral rights to a piece of property can prove difficult.
Several things that I recommend:
- Download and review Laws and Regulations: Mineral Rights in Arizona 9th edition.
- Contact your County recorder
- Contact federal and state agencies that track mining claims and mineral rights: US Bureau of Land Management - they have an office in the Phoenix area; Arizona State Land Dept, at the Government Mall in Phoenix.