The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) is one of the World’s largest scientific organizations with 121 national members representing over a million geoscientists. It is celebrating its 60th anniversary and the main IUGS 60th Anniversary Event will take place in Zumaia, Basque Coast UNESCO Global Geopark (Spain) with the presentation of The First 100 IUGS Geological Heritage Sites . This announcement will kick off an endeavor to designate geological sites from around the world that are iconic, recognized by all geoscience community for their impact in understanding the Earth and its history.
The scientific community has long demanded the establishment of a global program with global standards for the recognition of sites of high international importance. The IGCP – 731 IUGS Geological Heritage Sites (IUGS – UNESCO) has created the proper conditions of collaboration towards this great milestone that will inspire the work of this ambitious program in the near future.
An IUGS Geological Heritage Site is a key place with geological elements and/or processes of scientific international relevance, used as a reference, and/or with a substantial contribution to the development of geological sciences through history. Some of the oldest rocks on Earth from South Africa, traces of primitive life from Australia and China, some of the best dinnosaur fossil remains from Canada, the firts evidences of early hominin developmnet from Tanzania, the marine rocks of the top of the World from Mount Everest and iconic sites like the impressive Grand Canyon (USA), Perito Moreno glacier (Argentina), Santorini Caldera (Greece) or Uluru in Australia are only a few examples of this impressive list.
More than 200 specialists from almost 40 nations and ten international organisations, representing different disciplines of Earth Sciences, have participated in the selection of sites. 181 candidate sites from 56 countries were proposed and were evaluated by 33 international experts. The result of this challenging and collaborative process is the list of the First 100 IUGS Geological Heritage Sites that will be presented in Zumaia by most of the authors. The final program of the event is available at https://geoparkea.eus/iugs-globalgeosites
IUGS recognition gives visibility to those sites. It identifies them as being of the highest scientific value. They are sites that served to develop the science of geology, particularly its early history. They are the world’s best demonstrations of geologic features and processes. They are the sites of fabulous discoveries of the Earth and its history.
Many of the “First 100” are well protected in national parks, geoparks, and natural reserves, but many are not. Recognition and visibility of the “First 100” IUGS Geological Heritage Sites can lead to their further appreciation, to their use as educational resources, and, most importantly, to their preservation.
The “First 100” aspires to be a memorable event that culminates in a spectacular celebration on October 25-28th in Zumaia, Basque Coast UGGp. Registration is available in www.geoparkea.eus/iugs-globalgeosites. We hope to see you soon. Save the dates!