15 territories join the UNESCO Global Geopaarks Network

Last 7th July, 15 territories joined the Global Geoparks Network, after a candidature process and, this year, with some delay due to COVID-19.

To welcome these new territories, it was organised a virtual event the 16th July. It was preseted by Nicholas Zouros, President of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, Shamila  Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director General for the Natural Sciences of UNESCO and  Guy Martini, General Secretary of the Global Geoparks Network and chairperson of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council.

The presentations were accompanied by music performances in representation of the 4 continents.

Maestrazgo UNESCO Global Geopark (Spain), encompasses 43 municipalities with beautiful towns and built heritage set in varied landscapes, home to a rich history and traditional celebrations. The two most notable geological highlights of the Geopark are: The Jurassic-Cretaceous dinosaur sites in Galve where the first dinosaur in Spain was found, and the Mesozoic series in the Maestrazgo area. Other remarkable sites include the Cristal Caves Natural Monument or El Recuenco cave.

Xiangxi UNESCO Global Geopark (China), In the hinterland of the Wuling Mountains in Xiangxi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture (Hunan Province), bears witness to a rich human history which have given rise to unique folk customs. The geology of the area records the forming of the Yangtze Platform, a foreland basin that has undergone multiple stages of tectonic evolution. The area is also known for its Red Stone Forest, the Dehang Grand Canyon or the Zuolong Valley..

The Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark (United Kingdom), in the heart of England, has a geology spanning 428 million years it is also rich in coal, ironstone and limestone, resources which placed the region at the centre of the Industrial Revolution. The Geopark boasts a range of varied geosites, museums with spectacular collections, open air visitor attractions and many historic buildings. 

Cliffs of Fundy UNESCO Global Geopark (Canada), in Nova Scotia, features broad biodiversity and exposures of the the largest outpouring of lava in Earth history, fossils of early dinosaurs, vertebrates and more. The indigenous people of the region, The Mi’kmaq, have lived in the area for thousands of years, making it one of the earliest known sites of human habitation in northeastern North America.

Yangan-Tau UNESCO Global Geopark (Russian Federation), located in the Salavat District in the north-east of the Republic of Bashkortostan, presents three major geological structures: the East European Platform, the Uralian Foredeep and the Ural Mountains. One of the outstanding geological features of the Geopark is the Yangantau Mountain with unique thermal anomalies. It also has karst caves, the Kurganzak spring, Keselyaroyo or sulfur springs.

Toba Caldera UNESCO Global Geopark (Indonesia),  in Sumatra Island, it was formed by a super-volcano eruption 74,000 years ago. The water-filled basin of the caldera is the largest volcanic lake in Indonesia.  The exposed basement rocks enable the study of what was once part of the mega continent Gondwana. Home to the Batak Toba, Simalungun, Karo and Pakpak people, the area has a rich cultural heritage which can be explored by visiting traditional houses and museums.

Lauhanvuori-Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark (Finland) is formed by landscapes with numerous glacial and bedrock formations. First signs of human habitation in the region have been found at the ‘wolf cave’, one of the most northern locations with Neanderthal remains. It preserves many old traditions such as Sahti, the only primitive beer to survive in Western Europe.

Hantangang UNESCO Global Geopark (Republic of Korea) features a unique volcanic landscape of deep gorges, basalt cliffs, columnar joints and waterfalls formed during the late Quaternary, after the eruption of Ori Mountain, creating the Cheorwon Lava Plateau. Subsequently Hantangang River erosion developed its unique volcanic topography. The rich cultural heritage Jeongok-ri site of the Stone Age.

Djerdap UNESCO Global Geopark (Serbia), in the northeast of the country, features very diverse geology starting at . The most striking natural phenomenon is the Djerdap Gorge, the longest in Europe, incised by the Danube and which formed the present karst landscape. Inhabited since the early Mesolithic, it has a rich cultural heritage including prehistoric sites, Roman remains, medieval fortresses… Villages are nowadays inhabited by Serbs and Vlachs which have created some mixed traditions through the ages.

Zhangye UNESCO Global Geopark (China), in Gansu Province, was an important township on the ancient Silk Road. The Geopark’s 577 cultural sites bear witness to the history of the city that is home to a number of minority ethnic groups with distinct cultures and lifestyles. The most notable feature of the Geopark is the presence of colourful hills, the best example of China’s Danxia landform. Another important feature is the ‘Nine-Springs’ ophiolite, a remnant of the ancient oceanic crust.

Discovery UNESCO Global Geopark (Canada) located in Newfoundland Labrador, covers over 280 km of rugged coastline full of remarkable views on caves, arches and sea stacks. The area lies entirely with the Avalon terrane of the Appalachian Orogen, which is dominated by a complex assemblage of Neoproterozoic sedimentary, volcanic and plutonic rocks. With rocks over a half a billion years old, the Geopark is host to some of the most spectacular and exceptionally preserved Ediacaran fossil sites on Earth.

Estrela UNESCO Global Geopark (Portugal) is named after the Serra Estrela mountain range. During the Pleistocene, an ice field developed on top of the plateau, creating the features like glacial deposits such as the Lagoa Seca moraine field, and glacial landforms, such as the Zêzere glacial valley. The Geopark also presents a significant diversity of granite weathering forms such as the Cov vão do Boi granite columns and inselberge (isolated hills or mountains rising abruptly from a plane).

Rio Coco UNESCO Global Geopark (Nicaragua) is part of the volcanic Central Mountainous Chain featuring a landscape of rolling hills and plains with small valleys. Its topography offers panoramic views of a range of ongoing tectonic phenomena, in a landscape of wetlands, highland springs and cloud forests. The area has a rich history, marked by Taguzgalpa heritage, with numerous pre-Hispanic settlements and a examples of cave art, and colonial art.

Granada UNESCO Global Geopark (Spain) contains stone evidence of the geological history of a river and a lake that were active in the Quaternary. These ones, created a unique troglodytic landscape, with a singular type of traditional cave-houses, inhabited since the Middle Ages, which now host tourist accommodations, interpretation centres, etc.  The area is also known for its many archaeological sites that showcase the region’s rich historical, artistic and cultural heritage.

Dak Nong UNESCO Global Geopark (Viet Nam) has a  geological past that goes back 200 to 165 million years when the area was part of the ancient Gondwana supercontinent an it also has a recent volcanic activity of few tens of thousands of years ago. All these have endowed it with spectacular craters, majestic waterfalls and a rich biodiversity. Dak Nong was originally inhabited by three indigenous peoples. Following an influx of immigrants in the late 1970s it has become the home of over 40 ethnic groups and a place of rich cultural diversity.

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