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Thursday, 06 December 2007 03:02

1. Geological heritage and geoconservation: We would like to raise awareness of geological heritage and geoconservation with the emphasis on structural geological and tectonic sites. The text provides some links to geoconservation organisations.

2. Conservation of structural geology and tectonic heritage: The text provides examples of protected geotectonic sites. Please provide us with information of other examples and links you think are useful to the community.

3. Questionnaire on tectonic geosites: Please have a look and give us some feed back!




Geological heritage is an essential part of World heritage, as it represents the unique record of the whole evolution of our planet. Earth's evolution is recorded in a huge number of pieces. Like a puzzle, these pieces only form a coherent picture when viewed in conjunction. Only a very limited number of pieces are accessible for human observation. Human disturbance of the Earth's surface has lead to the accelerated destruction of many key pieces of the geological record, like in many European countries.

Geoconservation, that is, conservation of the geological heritage concerns recognising, protecting and managing sites and landscapes identified as important for their geological or geomorphological interest. Preserving the rocks beneath our feet is necessary for earth science and for education, it is a vital part of nature conservation. Although this may seem evident, little attention has been paid to it yet, particularly compared to the strong concern for protecting biodiversity and cultural heritage.

Behind a few countries with a rather long history in Earth heritage conservation (USA, UK, Australia) there are many others where geoconservation ideas and policies still have to be developed and implemented.

Although geological heritage is commonly included in regulations referring to natural spaces, this is not always the most adequate strategy. Because of its singular nature and the fact that it often embodies records of the geological history, geological heritage has some similarities or may be strongly linked with historical-cultural heritage. Geological heritage is often located at Man-made landmarks or works (e.g. mines, quarries, road cuttings). A qualitative illustration using a triangular plot reveals that geological heritage is not always associated with natural spaces and wilderness, but that in many cases areas of geological interest can be closely related to historical-cultural elements.


From Carreras and Druguet (2000)


Carreras, J., Druguet, E. 2000. Geological heritage, an essential part of the integral management of World heritage in protected sites. In Barettino D., Wimbledon W.A.P., Gallego E. (Eds.): Geological Heritage: its conservation and management. Lectures presented in the III International Symposium ProGEO on the Conservation of the Geological Heritage, 1999. Madrid (Spain). 95-110.






Some links to geoconservation:


Unesco initiatives:

World Heritage Sites of Geological Interest:


International Network of Geoparks:


The European Association for the Conservation of Geological Heritage:


The Geoconservation Commission of the Geological Society of London:


Joint Nature Conservation Committee (UK):


A list of links to geological heritage Internet resources is provided by The Geological Survey of Ireland at:


Geoconservation in Australia:


Geoconservation in South Africa:


USGS Geology in the Parks:


AGI (American Geological Instittute) imagebank:





The only records of rocks deformation in the Earth's lithosphere accessible to Man are limited to small pieces of the thin slice of the uppermost crust. These, of course, may also be threatened, mostly by anthropogenic impacts. Within geological values, those of structural geology and tectonic interests unfortunately are among the least appreciated by the general public. On the contrary, fossils and landforms are more successful. Records of tectonic processes, such as a fold, a fault or a shear zone, may sometimes look spectacular, but in most cases lack an aesthetic interest, especially when they are in a non-natural context like a quarry or a roadcut. Education on the significance, value and irreplaceability of these sites is the most adequate action to increase sensibility towards structural geology and tectonic heritage.


Some examples of protected tectonic geosites:



The Sideling Hill Road Cut (Maryland, USA):



















Van Hise Rock (Wisconsin, USA):




















 Hallett Cove Conservation Park (Adelaide, Australia):




















Geological conservation in the Moine Thrust Belt (UK):


















Geopark of Skedsmo (Norway):



















Cap de Creus (Catalunya, Spain):


































Ille de Groix (Bretagne, France):







A vital concern of TecTask is conservation of structural geology and tectonic heritage for research and education of future generations. We are therefore pursuing preservation of important sites (mostly against anthropogenic impacts) and would like to ask for your support in filling in the following SURVEY (Word Format) and sending it to Elena Druguet ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

We would greatly appreciate ( up to 10) suggestions of sites which you feel are of greatest interest to structural geology and tectonics. These can be sites you have visited, worked on, or you are familiar with through literature or other sources. The sites can be located in your own country or abroad.

The following criteria may assist you in determining the value of a site:


a) Major topics of the site and narratives

b) Impact on geological interpretation

c) Quality of exposure

d) Abundance and dimension of similar structures

e) Diversity of structures (variety of structures in the same area)

f) Educational value (general public, undergraduate, graduate-research levels)

g) Historical value

h) Geographic location and accessibility (e.g. navigation to site, access restrictions, seasonal availability, and space available at site).


This survey will help us to prepare a world-wide catalogue (database) of important structural geology and tectonics locations which will be available through the internet (see link). The database is intent to serve as public resource for research and educational purposes, and may support conservation activities of local earth scientists.


Thank you for taking the time to participate in this survey!

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 October 2008 10:09