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Roger Weller, geology instructor

Environmental Geology
by Kathleen Stevens
Physical Geology
Fall 2009

                                      Watching Arizona and Beyond

     Ever wondered what was going on with our geology and the environment but were unable to go and find out in person?  The internet provides many different sources that can be accessed to view and asses both current and future conditions around Arizona and beyond.

     Let’s begin with the United States Geological Service (USGS).

The USGS website allows individuals to access many different sites which monitor a variety of water issues.

Water Watch:

The water watch map will provide data on many different streams in Arizona.


     The colors on the initial map match the chart which indicates how the month in question compares to the historical average for that month. 

When you click on one of the circles located on this map you will be provided precise information that location as well as a graph of the daily discharge there for the last week.


Daily Stream-Flow Map:

   Another interesting page available from the USGS is the Real Time or Daily Stream-flow Map.


     This map allows individuals to monitor short-term changes in the rivers and streams around Arizona.  This information is listed in percentiles which are based on the historical daily stream flow of that area.  And like the previous map, when you click on one of the circles you are directed to further information on that particular flowing body of water. While at this page you can also access the “Statewide Streamflow Tables.”  This table provides real-time data such as: height, discharge and long-term median flow on flowing water throughout the state; this data is updated every 1-4 hours.

Flood & High Flow Condition Map:

     On this page, the USGS allows the public to view their monitoring of flood conditions in Arizona.

     This map shows water in stream gages that are at or above flood stage.  Although for most of the year this map would be very empty of data.  When experiencing periods of heavy rain this map could be incredibly important in monitoring any streams or rivers nearby. 

At the time this image was copied there was a blue circle which indicated there was information regarding the “TERMINAL CANAL WASTEWAY NR YUMA” when I clicked on the blue circle I discovered that the discharge was “15 cfs” as well as other data.  This information is open and available for anyone willing to take the time to look.

Drought Watch:

This USGS map shows the 7-day average stream flow as compared to historical data for that particular day.

The information in this map is shown by different colors which each represent a different percentile or severity of drought in the area.


Active Groundwater Level Network:

This map provides information on wells throughout the state.




This graphic provides a wide variety of information on different wells located in Arizona.  When clicking on the county of interest you are directed to another page which lists individual wells in the county and information on each well, including well depth.  When clicking on an individual well the viewer is provided further information regarding that particular well including the description, map of the location, altitude, water level graph and lowest and highest water level. 



Ever wonder what’s shaking in Arizona?  Just check with USGS and find out. 

Map showing earthquakes 



     This map shows provides information on recent earthquakes around the state.  Quakes are indicated by a scale which indicates how recent (last hour, last day, or last week) the quake occurred as well as how strong the quake was on the Richter scale. 

Flash Earth:


     (Unfortunately I am unable to provide a copy of the imagery available at this site for you to see here.)

This site uses imagery from a variety of satellites to provide an aerial view of earth.  It is very easy to use; by clicking on a source the viewer can choose which type of map they would like to see.  After the source has been chosen all one needs to do is click and drag the “earth” to the location you wish to see.  If you want a closer view all that is necessary is a quick roll of the mouse to zoom in for a closer look at the varied landscape of the earth on which we live.

Yahoo Weather:

     Out of all the internet sites available to see and monitor what is happening in our world, the one I visit and use the most is yahoo weather, where the weather information is provided by The Weather Channel.

     At you can find a huge array of information regarding the weather (unfortunately I again was unable to copy an image for you to view here). 

     When you first access the site you are directed to input a location of interest by using either a city and state or zip code.  After you provide this information the site is redirected to give you the current data for your particular area of interest. 

     A list of the type of information available is as follows:

     Current conditions, including information on:

Current temperature

            High and low predictions for that day

            What temperature it actually feels like

            Barometric pressure

            Percentage of humidity


            Dewpoint temperature

            Wind speed

            Sunrise & sunset times for the day

            Predictions for the next 10 days

            A radar map with current, as well as a looping picture of the past radar and future (predicted) radar patterns

           Heat index for the day

           A detailed forecast for the next several days which includes:  sky conditions, high and low temps as well as predicted wind speed.

     If you are interested to know at what exact hour the snow is supposed to begin falling in your area, you can access the “hour-by-hour” forecast.  On this graph you can clearly see the hourly predictions for the next 40 hours which include the precipitation percentages as well as the predicted temperature for the individual hours.

     Using the “Month” tab it is possible to look back to determine what the sky conditions, high and low temperatures as well as the amount of precipitation were for a particular day of a particular during the current or previous month.  You can also look forward by using that same tab to look at this same information as it is forecasted for either the remainder of the month or the following month. 

If you have a particular activity or hobby you like to engage in, it is even possible to get predictions as to what the conditions for that activity will be for that day.

     It is utterly amazing the amount of information that can be found on this and other internet sites.  It is almost unnecessary for one to leave their home to know what is going on the physical world around them; with internet access and a click of a mouse it is possible to know not only the conditions for the stream near your home but also what the weather conditions and predictions are for your family across the nation.  The internet has become an incredible and never ending source of information regarding the environment and its functioning around the state and around the world.