Environmental Geology
                           Student Papers in Geology
Cochise College          

Geology Home Page                         

Roger Weller, geology instructor


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


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 weather.yahoo.com 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

     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.