GO 340 Gemstones & Gemology
ES 567 Gemstones of the World
Emporia State University
Dr. Susan Ward Aber, Geologist & Gemologist
Emporia State University
Emporia, Kansas USA

academic.emporia.edu/abersusa/go340/tucson08.htm

Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Shows 2008-present!

From Kansas to Arizona!
Tucson and Surroundings
The Shows
The Fossils
The Minerals
The Gems

Tucson and Surroundings

While the city is around 2450 feet in elevation, Mt. Lemmon Peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains is over 9,157 feet (www.arizonahandbook.com/catalina.htm). One day it rained in Tucson and when the fog lifted we noted the Santa Catalina's were snow-topped! While the Rincon Mountains and Saguaro National Park is east of Tucson (www.nps.gov/sagu/), we drove west to photograph the Tucson Mountains and Old Tucson movie studio. Kitt Peak is 56 miles southwest of Tucson and has some 24 telescopes, which impacts Tucson with strict night lighting regulations. 2008 marks this National Optical Astronomy Observatory's 50th anniversary (1958-2008)...They operate 3 major nighttime telescopes, 19 optical and 2 radio telescopes (http://www.noao.edu/kpno/.


Image from
www.noao.edu/
kpno/kpcam/index.shtml
.

Image taken from
wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/
tucsonecology/setting/
geology_southwest.htm#
.
According to the Pima Community College website on a brief geologic history of the southwest,
http://wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/tucsonecology/setting/geology.htm, the Tucson Mountain Range was formed from an explosive volcanic eruption some 70 million years ago. The Tucson mountains are primarily rhyolite tuff, a fused volcanic ash, along with granite in the northwestern Tucson. The Tucson Mountains were once on top of the Santa Catalina Mountains, and both contain the same granite, which is evidence that the two mountain ranges had been a single formation at one time. The top of the volcano -now the Tucson Mountains- detached and moved west from the Santa Catalina Mountains between 30 and 17 million years ago. The area between dropped down to form the sediment filled basin where Tucson is now located.
Statistics according to Fact Monster at http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0108613.html included:
The estimated population figure for Tucson in 2005 was over a half million people and it is the second-largest city in Arizona. It is located on the Santa Cruz River and originally settled by the prehistoric Hohokam Indians (300 B.C.-A.D. 1400) and further developed by Spanish and Jesuit missionary explorers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Later Tucson was a military outpost under Spanish and Mexican control until the area was sold to the U.S. as part of the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. Silver and copper deposits were mined in the area and the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in 1880. Tucson is the home of Pima Community College and the University of Arizona, where Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama spoke while we were in town! The average January temperature is 51 degrees F and 2004 per capita income was $27,244.


Schematic of the geology
from Pima Community
College site on the
geologic setting of Tucson
(Image taken from
wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/
tucsonecology/setting/
geology_southwest.htm#
).


Englemann Prickly Pear
(Opuntia englemannii).
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08. For more
information wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/
tucsonecology/plants/cacti.htm

and wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/
tucsonecology/plants/
cacti_prpe.htm


Ecologically, Tucson is in the Sonoran Desert with an array of plants and small trees including the Foothills Palo Verde (Cercidium microphyllum), Englemann Prickly Pear (Opuntia englemannii), Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), Teddybear Cholla (Opuntia bigelovii), Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus acanthodes), and Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea).


Some of the landscape rock
in the city is petrified tree
trunks! Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.


Tucson Mountains.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Tucson Mountains.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Looking west from the
Tucson Mountains. Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Looking toward Kitt
Peak from the Tucson
Mountains. Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Looking toward Kitt Peak
from the Tucson Mountains.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Mature Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea
gigantea) with arms. In addition
to people shooting holes in these
plants, birds create nests. Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.
For more information,
wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/
tucsonecology/plants/
cacti_sagu.htm

Juvenile Saguaro Cactus,
Tucson Mountains. Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Teddybear Cholla and
Saguaro Cactus in rhyolite,
Tucson Mountains. Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.

Old Tucson movie set
and theme park. Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.
For more information
www.oldtucson.com/.

Mature Saguaro Cactus
at Old Tucson Studio set. photo date 2/08.

Joy and Susan at Old
Tucson. Image by
S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Cactus garden at Old
Tucson Studio set.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Joy and Susie at Old
Tucson movie set.
Image by S. Kelley;
photo date 2/08.

Old Tucson movie set.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus
acanthodes)at Old Tucson Studio
set. Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08. For more
information, wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/
tucsonecology/plants/
cacti_fhba.htm

Old Tucson movie set.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Old Tucson movie set.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Old Tucson movie set.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Cactus garden at
Old Tucson Studio set.
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

Foothills Paloverde tree
(Cercidium microphyllum).
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.
For more information
wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/
tucsonecology/plants/
trees_fpv.htm
.

Teddybear Cholla (Opuntia
bigelovii). Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date 2/08.
For more information
wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/
tucsonecology/plants/
cacti_tbch.htm

Ocotillo (Fouquieria
splendens). Image by
S.W. Aber; photo date
2/08. For more information
wc.pima.edu/Bfiero/
tucsonecology/plants/
shrubs_oco.htm
.

Paloverde tree
(Cerciduum microphyllllum).
Image by S.W. Aber;
photo date 2/08.

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This page originates from the Earth Science department for the use and benefit of students enrolled at Emporia State University. For more information contact the course instructor, S. W. Aber, e-mail: esu.abersusie@gmail.com Thanks for visiting! Webpage created: February 2008; last update: November 19, 2012.

Copyright 2008-2012 Susan Ward Aber. All rights reserved.