- Author: Tom Marcinko
- Category: Valley News
- Issue: Jul 2013
Though helium is the second most common element in the universe, the gas is hard to find in commercial quantities here on planet Earth. Exception: northeastern Arizona. The region supplied the U.S. with some of the richest deposits of helium in the 1960s and 1970s, and could do so again.
The world now faces a helium shortage, thanks to an ill-advised federal sale of its dwindling stockpiles begun in 1996. Helium cools MRI scanners, particle accelerators, and the chips in your smartphone. It cleans rocket tanks, keeps deep-sea divers breathing, and may yet fill our skies with airships. (Hydrogen, not helium, blew up the Hindenburg.)
As with shale oil, it takes fracking to mine helium. Miners feel lucky to capture the element in 1- or 2-percent concentrations, says state geologist M. Lee Allison. But the Holbrook Basin and the Four Corners area might yield concentrations of up to 8 percent.
Valley News (What Others Are Reading)
After a fierce shootout last year in Chino Valley between members of the Hells Angels and rival bikers the… Read More +
When brain cancer attacked his craft-brew-loving wife, Louis Dolgoff devised a charity just for her.
On August 29, 2009, Laurie Dolgoff… Read More +
A rare, fungus-spawned disease that mimics cancer thrives in Arizona. Just another weird local bug.
It’s a medical mystery… Read More +
Open up and say “ah.” Our 12th annual guide to the Valley’s best dentists features 171 peer-selected practitioners in nine specialties, including… Read More +
HIKE OF THE MONTH
For a good workout and amazing views close to suburbia, try Bell Pass Trail. Although there are many access points and loop options, here’s one that works well if all you want to do is… Read More +
With birth rates above the national average, Arizona offers parents-to-be more options than ever.
...in the Beginning there was an egg and a sperm. Whether their union was divinely ordained, scientifically schemed or accidentally arranged is for their owners… Read More +
Frustrated by an ungainly system, more Valley physicians turn to the “concierge” model. Translation: couture health care.
For much of her career as a practicing cardiologist, Dr. Anne-Marie Feyrer-Melk essentially kept one hand on the doorknob during patient visits. She had… Read More +
Heading out on a fabulous fall drive? Check out our guide to the best autumnal ambles in the area.
Bear Sign Trail No. 59
The remote upper reaches of Bear Sign Trail host surprisingly rich… Read More +
Whether you’re relocating or just recreating, the Valley’s diverse and distinctive neighborhoods offer a host of haunts to explore. From family friendly enclaves to hidden historic ’hoods, plus meccas for outdoorsy types, foodies anD creatives, here are 30 of… Read More +
You shook Goldwater’s hand. You hiked Humphreys Peak. You even installed your own backyard misting system. But your Arizona membership dues… Read More +
E-cigarettes could usurp tobacco as the nation's nicotine delivery system of choice, and Scottsdale-based NJoy leads the charge. But how safe is “vaping”?
There are no Marlboro Men lassoing cattle in the “wild west” of North Scottsdale, especially not here in… Read More +
No use denying it: PHOENIX magazine is in the bag for San Diego. You could set your seasonal clock to our annual San Diego-themed headlines: “San Diego: A Paradise for Tourists,” “Swimsuits… Read More +
From historic hollows and Hummer half-pipes to dapper dude ranches and to-die-for drives, we’re serving up a bountiful birthday helping of 52 weekend adventures to help you christen Arizona’s second century of statehood. Plus: New… Read More +
Celebrate the completion of the state-long Arizona National Scenic Trail with these highlight hikes.Finally, outdoor lovers have a boots-on-the-ground way to experience our state’s mesmerizing diversity, border-to-border. Just in time for Arizona’s Centennial, the state-traversing Arizona Trail has debuted… Read More +
From cowboy-chic cabins and high-altitude campsites to recreation-rich mountain retreats and old fire guard stations, we've mined the Copper State for gems of nature loving lodging.
Lodging under the stars in Arizona's high country forests doesn't have to mean schlepping… Read More +
Santa Fe and Taos are famous for their arts scenes, but the surrounding slopes make a scenic ski escape for bunny-slopers to black-diamond daredevils.
It starts with a soft chant somewhere up on the dark, snow-covered ski slope. “TOOORCH-light….… Read More +
Despite a marketing whitewash and new state laws, “bath salts” remain Arizona’s latest dangerous designer drug of choice – and a thriving local industry.Read More +
As the constitutionality of Arizona’s ethnic studies classes law is debated in court, the question still simmers: How can schools teach American history without marginalizing – or militarizing – some groups of students? Read More +
Arizona boasts some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation. But how tough is too tough?
Beverly Mason Biggers has a good reason – the most personal of reasons, in fact – for devoting herself to the fight… Read More +
Proposed federal cutscould have devastating effects on the one in six Arizonans who use food stamps. But can we afford to feed millions of people?Read More +
Private prisons profit from government contracts while touting taxpayer savings, secure facilities and superior services. But following high-profile escapes, do our corrections need correcting?On July 30, 2010, three convicted murderers – John McClusky, Daniel Renwick and Tracy Province –… Read More +