UNESCO is adding 18 sites to its global geoparks network, bringing the total number up to 195 in 48 countries. Two UNESCO Member States have joined the network — New Zealand and the Philippines. Here’s a look at some of them
Lavreotiki, Greece is famous for the abundance and variety of its mineralogical specimens, many of which were first discovered in the area. But this geopark is best known for its silver extracted from mixed sulfide deposits. Seen here, the Soureza ancient mining centre. The area was the largest silver-mining centre in both ancient and modern Greece from as early as 3200 BC. Photo: Lavreotiki Geopark
Maros Pangkep, Indonesia is located along the southern arm of the island of Sulawesi in the Maros and Pangkep Regencies. The local population primarily comprises the indigenous peoples of Bugis and Makassarese. Although the geopark covers an area of 5,077 square kilometres, more than half of it lies underwater. The geopark area also contains a cluster of 39 islands separate from the mainland. This archipelago lies in the Coral Triangle and serves as a centre for conserving coral reef ecosystems. The area covered by the geopark is more than 100 million years old and bears traces of ancient life forms. Photo: Ahmad Abdu / Maros Pangkep UNESCO Global Geopark
Aras is situated in the northwest of Iran. The Aras River forms the northern boundary of the geopark, serving as the dividing line between Iran, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Within the geopark region, there are three designated protected areas. The area’s conservation efforts are significantly influenced by its rich wildlife variety and the existence of endangered species like the Caucasian Black Grouse, Red Deer, Armenian Ram, and Leopard. The Asyab waterfall seen here — AsiabKharabeh, or the Asyab waterfall — features unique limestone–travertine rocks formed from the calcium carbonate minerals of the mineral spring. It is also the entrance of a cave that is 150 metres long. Photo: Aras Geopark Asyab Waterfall Boyuk Raei
Hakusan Tedorigawa is located in central Japan, where it follows the Tedori River from Mount Hakusan down to the sea. The Hakusan Tedorigawa Geopark records approximately 300 million years of history. It contains rocks that were formed by the collision of continents, strata containing fossils of dinosaurs and volcanic deposits formed during the rifting process, which separated Japan from the Eurasian continent about 15 million years ago. Rising 2,702 m above sea level, it records some of the highest levels of snowfall in the world for a mountain so close to the Equator. This heavy snowfall drives a water and erosion cycle that is continuously shaping the landscape. Seen here, a view of the Shishiku Highlands and the Tedori River alluvial fan. Photo: HakusanTedorigawa Geopark Promotion Council
New Zealand’s first UNESCO Global Geopark, Waitaki Whitestone, lies on the east coast of the South Island, extending over an area of 7,214 square kilometres from the Waitaki Valley to the base of the Southern Alps. The landscapes, rivers and tides of this geopark have enormous cultural significance for the local indigenous people, the Ngai Tahu whanui. Seen here are the Elephant Rocks in the geopark. These elephant-shaped outcrops are formed by Otekaike Limestone, which originated as a fossil-rich marine sand 25 million years ago and was eroded over time by water and wind. Photo: Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Trust
Quarta Colonia is located in the south of Brazil between the Pampa and Atlantic Forest biomes. Its name is a reference to the period when Italians colonised the central part of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. The geopark is also rich in fossils of animal and plant life dated 230 million years ago. It holds the record for the oldest dinosaurs on the planet, with Triassic fossils of great international significance. Seen here, Escarpas Alagadas hills at the geopark. Photo: Cleusa Jung / Quarta Colonia Geopark
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