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Ho, Ho, Ho - Giving the Gift of Arizona Geology


Wretched as 2020 has been, and continues to be, the holiday season has arrived. For those looking for a gift with geologic overtones, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite geologic books, field trips guides, and maps that are in-print or free as digital downloads.

Best wishes finding precisely what you need.


i.    Geologic Literature of Arizona – for the non-specialist
       a.    Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth series
ii.    Geologic Maps
iii.    Arizona Field Trip Guides
iv.    Arizona Mines and Mining Histories
v.    Technical Geologic Reports and Papers

Geologic Literature of Arizona – for the non-specialist

The majority of these are in-print and available at both brick and mortar bookstores and online platforms such as Amazon. Included here are texts that I’m most familiar with, if only by reputation. Titles and authors are provided. For additional information, search online.

  • Abbott L. and Cook T., Hiking the Grand Canyon’s Geology
  • Abbott L. and Cook T., Geology Underfoot in Arizona
  • Anthony, Williams, and Bideaux and Grant, Mineralogy of Arizona, 3rd edt. (2016)
  • Blakely, R. and Ranney, W., Ancient Landscapes
  • Collier, M., Arizona: A View from Above
  • Dykinga, J., Images: Jack Dykinga’s Grand Canyon
  • Duffield, W., Volcanoes of Northern Arizona
  • Karlstrom, K. and Crossey, L., The Grand Canyon – Trail of Time Compilation
  • Nations D. and Stump E., Geology of Arizona, 3rd Edition
  • Pallister, J.S., du Bray, E.A. and Hall D.B., Geology of Chiricahua National Monument, A review for the non-specialist (17 p.)
  • Powell, J.W., The Exploration of the Colorado River and Canyons
  • Price, L. G., Grand Canyon Geology
  • Ranney, W., Sedona Through Time: A guide to Sedona’s Geology
  • Ranney, W., The Verde Valley: A Geological History
  • Ranney, W., Carving Grand Canyon: Evidence, Theories and Mystery
  • Reynolds S. and Johnson, J, available in 2021, Roadside Geology of Arizona
  • Ross, J., 2019, The Promise of the Grand Canyon
  • Sadler, C., Life in Stone: Fossils of the Colorado Plateau

Mineralogy of Arizona

Arizona Geological Survey Down-To-Earth Series

AZGS Down-to-Earth series booklets are available as free downloads at the Arizona Geological Survey’s Online Document Repository - search by author or title.

•    Bezy, J.V. and Conway, F.M., 2020. Island Mountains of Southeastern Arizona: Geology, Vegetation & Wildlife. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth #24, 99 p.
•    Bezy, J.V., 2016, A Guide to the Geology of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona: The Geology and Life Zones of a Madrean Sky Island. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth # 22, 83 p.
•    Bezy, J.V., 2012, A Guide to the Geology of the Sedona & Oak Creek Canyon area, Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth DTE #20, 42 p.
•    Bezy, J.V., 2005, A Guide to the Geology of Saguaro National Park. Arizona Geological Survey Down to Earth, DTE #18, 47 p.
•    Bezy, J.V., 2004, A Guide to the Geology of Sabino Canyon and the Catalina Highway. Arizona Geological Survey Down to Earth, DTE #17, 56 p.
•    Bezy, J.V., 2003, A Guide to the Geology of the Flagstaff Area. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth Series DTE-14, 56 p.
•    Bezy, J.V., Trevena, A.S., 2003, A Guide to the Geology of the White Mountains and the Springville Volcanic Field, Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth Series DTE-16, 56 p.
•    Bezy, J.V., 2002, A Guide to the Geology of Catalina State Park and the Western Santa Catalina Mountains. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth Series DTE-12, 57 p.
•    Bezy, J.V., 2001, Rocks in the Chiricahua National Monument and the Fort Bowie National Historic Site. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth Series #11, 48 p. (2nd printing in 2011)
•    Bezy, J.V., Gutmann, J. and Haxel, G.B., 2000, A Guide to the Geology of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth #9, 66 p.
•    Bezy, J.V. and Trevena, A.S., 2000, Guide to the Geology of Petrified Forest National Park. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth #10, 48 p.
•    Amann, Jr., A.W., Bezy, J.V., Ratkevich, R. and Witkind, W.M., 1998, ‘Ice Age Mammals of the San Pedro River Valley Southeastern Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth #6, 32 p.
•    Frisch-Gleason, R., 1998, Highlights of Northern Arizona Geology. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth #7, 45 p.
•    Hanson, S.L., 2003, Roadside Geology: Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments. Arizona Geological Survey Down to Earth, DTE #15, 36 p.
•    Harris, R.C. and Pearthree, P.A., 2002, A Home Buyer's Guide to Geologic Hazards in Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey Down-to-Earth #13, 48 p
•    Holm, R.F., 2019, Geology of Flagstaff and Geologic History of Rio de Flag, Northern Arizona with Trail Guides to Geology along Rio de Flag. Arizona Geological Survey Down-To-Earth #23, 70 pages.
•    Slaff, S., 1993, Land Subsidence and Earth Fissures in Arizona. Arizona Geological Survey, Down-to-Earth Series 3, 32 p.

Bezy book

Geologic Maps

One of our favorite geologic maps is the “Geologic Highway Map of Arizona” published in 2000. The map scale is 1:1,000,000. The map includes illustrated notes on the physiography, economic geology, tectonics, and generalized stratigraphic sections for northern, central, and southern Arizona. You can purchase this map for ~$12 from Tucson’s Rio Nuevo Publishing (). 

You can view the digital, interactive Geologic Map of Arizona here.

Thousands of geologic maps exist for Arizona; far too many to cite here. Two excellent catalogs of geologic maps, which usually include free, high-resolution PDFs for download, include:  
1. AZGS Online Document Repository
2. US Geological Survey’s National Geologic Map Database .
3. The US Geological Survey Publication Warehouse host tens of thousands of reports.

Geo highway map

Arizona Field Trip Guides

The non-profit Arizona Geological Society provides ~ 85 out-of-print archived field trip PDFs, dating from 1952 through 2005, for free download.   NOTE: These field guides were written for those with a strong background in geology. The late Kevin Horstman, long-time AGS member and officer, spent hundreds of hours preparing these manuscripts for web publication.

Field trip guides at AZGS Document Repository

Field trip guide

Arizona Mines and Mining History

The Briggs Collection at the AZGS online document repository comprises the mining histories of economic geologist and author David Briggs. The articles range from short notes of 10-15 pages to more comprehensive report of 75+ pages.

•    Helvetia-Rosemont, Pima County
•    Verde Mining District, Jerome, Arizona
•    Silver Bell Mining District, Pima County, Arizona
•    Ajo Mining District
•    Copper Mountain (Morenci) Mining District
•    Warren (Bis bee) Mining District
•    San Manuel-Kalamazoo Mine, Pinal County, Arizona

The Mining Foundation of the Southwest (MFSW) published an excellent series, comprising three excellent texts, on the history of mining in Arizona. MFSW graciously provides these as free downloads. Physical properties remain in print and can be ordered here:

History of Mining in Arizona Vol. 1 editors. J.M. Canty and M.N. Greeley (279 p.)   
History of Mining in Arizona Vol. 2 editors J.M. Canty and M.N. Greeley (292 p.)  
History of Mining in Arizona Vol. 3 J.M. Canty, H.M. Coggin and M.N. Greeley  (244 p.)

William Ascarza has published a number of mining texts, e.g., “In search of fortunes: A look at the history of Arizona Mining. These are non-technical texts written for the lay audience.


Technical Geologic Reports & Papers

A search for geo-technical reports could begin with “The Bibliography of Arizona Geology” , which includes citations for more 13,000 geologic articles, reports and maps published from 1890 to 2005. The site includes a powerful search engine to assist the user in finding the most appropriate document(s).  

Fortunately, the geologic products of the Arizona Geological Survey and it predecessor agencies and those of the U.S. Geological Survey are largely digitized and available for free access at:

Happy Holidays to All from the staff of the Arizona Geological Survey!

Bouse formation