Monday, September 21, 2009

Arizona Geological Survey Budget Cuts - Input Requested

Hello all,

I'm sure that you all have seen that our state government is in pretty poor shape these days. Things are looking especially bad for the AZGS as more budget cuts are needed. Up to now the AZGS has managed to not significantly reduce the services that it provides, but that will no longer be the case with this next round of cuts. As a result, the AZGS is requesting comments as to what parts of its mission are critical and what parts expendable.

A review panel of stakeholder organizations will meet in early October to help advise AZGS on the tough decisions ahead. AEG will be a part of this review panel. I'm asking all of you (members and non-members) to please comment so that your input can be included. Lee Allison (the State Geologist and director of the AZGS) is posting about this on his blog at His original post on the issue can be found at He will also be posting the services and activities that are on the chopping block, so check back often.

Below, I've copied some of the email that Lee sent me that outlines just how bad the situation is.

We have to submit plans for 15-20% cuts in the current budget by October 10, based on permanent elimination of AZGS programs. No other options (furloughs, salary reductions, spreading cuts around) will be considered.

The situation is more desperate than might seem apparent. The cuts would take place in January, which means we have to implement a full year’s cuts in 6 months. This results in effective cuts of 30-40% by permanently eliminating enough programs to achieve that. We are also being told to turn over 15-20% of our bookstore revenues (used to run the store and produce publications) and an equal amount of funds we collect from contracts and grants to pay for the cost of carrying out those operations. We are still assessing the extent and impacts of these two fund transfers.

We have already taken about 30% in cuts in the past 15 months. However, our infrastructure costs have not been reduced (rent, phones, accountants, insurance, etc).

As a result, this next round of cuts may necessitate reduction of our geoscience operations by 80% or so.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Plate Tectonics in Action

I saw this video and thought it was rather fun. I'm not sure that I believe the future speculation (isn't the Great Rift Valley in Africa currently spreading?). Anyway, enjoy.

650 Million Years In 1:20 Min.
by xchristox

Erick Weiland appointed to AZ Board of Technical Registration

Gov. Jan Brewer has appointed Tucson geologist Erick Weiland to a two year term on the Arizona Board of Technical Registration, replacing Dawn Garcia, who stepped down after serving since 2005, according to the AIPG Arizona Chapter newsletter. There is only one geologist on the board, and Erick will represent Arizona on the Association of State Boards of Geologists (ASBOG) in the development and administration of the Geology test for professional registration.

Previous appointments to AzBTR and ASBOG include Ralph Weeks, Frank Turek, and Bill Greenslade.

For the record, as Chair of the Arizona Section of AEG, I co-wrote a letter with the Arizona Section of AIPG recommending Erick's appointment to the BTR. I'm very relieved that geologists will have representation on the board.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Next Meeting - Sept. 17th

The Arizona Section of AEG is pleased to announce that our next meeting will be held on Thursday September 17, 2009 at Pizzeria Uno in Tempe. The hosted social hour begins at 6 PM (thanks to Boart Longyear), dinner is usually around 7 PM and the talk will begin shortly after dinner. The presentation topic is "Evaluating Scour at Bridge Foundations on Rock: Status of NCHRP Project 24-29" presented by Jeffrey R. Keaton, Ph.D., PE, PG, F.ASCE. Hope to see you all there!

Please RSVP to Bonnie Whitley by Tuesday September 15th.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Student Volunteers Needed at AEG National Meeting

Student Volunteers are needed for the 2009 AEG Conference in Lake Tahoe September 21st to the 26th. Your incentive for volunteering is FREE registration! To volunteer, go to the AEG website ( and click on the Lake Tahoe icon, click on Student Volunteer Registration, enter your AEG Student username and password and fill out the form. If you're not an AEG Student Member, you can join for only $25 by visiting the Why You Should Join AEG under the Students tab. Don't forget to sign up for the Student-Professional Event on Tuesday, it's FREE! Hope to see you there!