UNESCO GLOBAL GEOPARK GEOFOOD MEMBERS
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Rokua Geopark Finland
Rokua UNESCO Global Geopark is situated in Northern Finland, about 200 km south of the Arctic Circle between the cities of Oulu and Kajaani.
The UNESCO Global Geopark geosites tell the story of the gradual development of the terrain from below a kilometer-thick ice mass to the deep bottom of the ancient Baltic Sea and further via an island and shore stage to become the present inland area. The UNESCO Global Geopark includes a number of impressive bedrock sites, which are used as examples of the main development stages of the Fennoscandian bedrock area. In addition, the area has in Finnish conditions an exceptionally diverse and high quality range of landscape forms that arose during the time of the ancient continental ice sheet and its melting stage as well as during the uplift process that followed it. The landscape consists of a changing, varied mosaic of thousands of geological formations, including drumlins, hummocky moraines, terminal moraines, esker ridges, kettle holes, ancient shorelines, dunes, ravines and bogs.
Naturtejo da Meseta Meridional UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the centre of Portugal, near the border with Spain. The UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the so called Southern Iberian Meseta, a polygenetic peneplain cut by the Tagus river into a deep valley at the south and bordered on the north by the Central Iberian Belt. The landscape is composed of a wide plain broken by residual relief coming from past climates and a staircase of flat topped tectonic-faulted blocks deeply incised by rivers and streams that are more prominent towards the north.
Naturtejo da Meseta Meridional UNESCO Global Geopark is rich in geological heritage, starting some 600 million years ago, with deepsea turbidites evidencing some simple life forms. It is located at the southern border of the Central-Iberian Zone, one of the terranes that constituted the Iberian Massif during the Variscan Orogeny. The Geopark’ is characterized by very ancient landscapes, such as the 50 million-year-old Meseta Meridional peneplain, the quartzitic crests and gigantic white ramparts that rise from the plateau and represent the ancient Ordovician ocean. 170 geosites were identified to tell locals and visitors the stories from Earth in this region of Iberia, from Neoproterozoic to Quaternary times
The Villuercas Ibores Jara UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the south-east of the province of Cáceres (in Extremadura, Spain).
The beauty of this unique landform is characterized by structurally-controlled morphological features responsible for the intensely folded and fractured landscape. The UNESCO Global Geopark shows an inverted topography with elevated narrow Variscan synclines (residual Appalachian Relief) with Lower Palaeozoic siliciclastic rocks, including the Armorican Quarzite which marks the highest topography.
Forty-four geosites have been cataloged as ridges, hills and mountains, faults, river valleys, places with special geomorphological features such as synclines and anticlines, mines, and paleontological deposits. Paleontological deposits are important to explain the great event in evolution known as the “Biotic Explosion of the Cambrian”, 540 million years ago.
The Arouca UNESCO Global Geopark is located in northern Portugal and coincides with the area of the Arouca Municipality. This territory is located on the western border of the north sub-plateau of the Iberian Peninsula, and is characterized by mountains carved by narrow valleys. The average altitudes range from 200 to 600 m but exceeds 1000 m in Freita (1100 m) and Montemuro (1222 m) mountains.
The Arouca UNESCO Global Geopark is renowned for its exceptional geological heritage of international significance, with 41 geosites. Rocks that outcrop in this region tell stories of the ancient seas that bordered the supercontinent Gondwana 520 to 420 million year (Ma) ago and chronicle the formation of the next supercontinent called Pangea that formed 250 Ma ago.
Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark comprises Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park, Kilim Karst Geoforest Park, Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park, and Kubang Badak BioGeo Trail.
Each of these geoforest parks showcases significant geological, biological and cultural heritage. With an abundance of natural wonders, from ancient rock formations and dramatic mountain peaks to a wealth of flora and fauna, the Geopark experience is one not to be missed.
Langkawi UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the far north-western corner of peninsular Malaysia. Located in the northern State of Kedah, it is unique in the sense that it was formed on 99 islands that together made up the legendary Langkawi Archipelago. The natural landscape of Langkawi is a combination between highly vegetated hills of rainforest and some rather barren rocks.
Vis Archipelago Geopark
The Vis Archipelago UNESCO Global Geopark is located off the coast of Croatia, formed by some of the oldest rock in the Adriatic Sea.
The northeastern region of the archipelago features large sand deposits formed by fierce winds in the Ice Age, which also created several unique caves and land formations. Before the sudden rise of the sea level around 12,000 years ago, these islands were much larger and extended more than 20 miles. In this extended area, called the Mala Palagruža, archaeologists discovered flint quarries that served for the production of early tools, believed to have been made by the islands’ first inhabitants up to 8,000 years ago. Some of the most famous sites on this Archipelago are the Blue Cave (Modra špilja) and the Monk Seal Cave (Medvidina špilja).
Sesia Val Grande Geopark
The Sesia Val Grande UNESCO Global Geopark is located on the north-east of Piemonte Region, NW Italy, and encompasses areas of the Verbano Cusio Ossola (VCO), Biella, Novara and Vercelli Provinces.
The territory can be considered as the world’s most accessible reference section of continental crust, consisting of a diverse association of rocks from the deep, middle and upper crust that provide an unprecedented model. These rocks were exposed at the surface of the earth by the collision between the continents of Africa and Europe, which has progressed over the past 100 million years, driving the Alpine orogeny. Along the Alps, the boundary between the two continents is the Insubric line. In the same area, the Supervolcano of the Sesia erupted approximately 280 million years ago forming a huge caldera, the remains of this and its magmatic plumbing system are clearly visible today.
Tuscan Mining Geopark
The Tuscan Mining Park UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the northern of Province of Grosseto in Tuscany, central Italy.
The geological features of the Geopark have resulted from the long and complex geological evolution of southern Tuscany associated mainly with the formation of the local mountain chain (Apennine chain).
his territory embraces the area of the Colline Metallifere (Metalliferous Hills), one of most important ore districts of Italy. In this area, there are several sulphide orebodies that for their grade and size were intensely exploited from remote to modern age for production of lead, zinc, copper, silver, iron, pyrite, alum and lignite.
Visiting the Geopark, one can experience active geological processes such as thermal springs, gas and vapour jets, and thermal pools, which in the last 200 years have been used for the production of boron and electricity.
In the Geopark, you will find a region where sustainability and slow, experiential tourism are a way of life. The precious vestiges of the past intermingle with the excellence of the present.
Magma Geopark - Norway
Magma UNESCO Global Geopark is situated in southwest Norway covering 5 municipalities and parts of two regions.
Magma UNESCO Global Geopark is an area of unique magmatic geology. The story began as early as 1.5 billion years ago when red-hot magma and sky-high mountains characterized the region. Through millions of years, glaciers helped to form the characteristic landscape that we have today. Although the magma has cooled down and solidified and the mountains have been worn away, the area offers a glimpse into the roots of an ancient mountain chain. Here is a rock type called anorthosite that is more common on the moon than on Earth. In one of the huge ancient magma chambers you find a continuous magmatic evolution from the simplest magmatic rock anorthosite, to one of the most evolved magmatic rock Quartz-Charnockite. The magmatic rocks like Anorthosite, Norite are 930-920 million years old, but look as fresh as they were crystalized yesterday. This unique area provides high-value heritage in local, national and international contexts.
In the context of the Central Continental Portugal Region, Estrela Geopark includes part or all of the nine municipalities that are structured around Serra da Estrela - a factor that gives them identity and territorial cohesion.
The territory of this Geopark reflects a diverse landscape, the result of multiple geological transformations, climatic contrasts recorded, as well as the ancient human occupation, whose first records date back to the beginning of the 4th millennium a. C.
Like the Portuguese writer of the 20th century, Miguel Torga, says “Estrela is tall, immense, enigmatic and her physical presence is immediately an obsession, adding to the disturbing reality an even more vivid certainty: that of all local truths emanate from it ”(Miguel Torga, 1967).
Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas Geopark
In Lauhanvuori - Hämeenkangas UNESCO Global Geopark, located in the southern part of the Suomenselkä drainage divide. Here you will find two national parks, mire conservation areas and numerous natural and cultural sites.
The Geopark’s story dates back as far as 1900 million years ago. Crustal movements raised a large fold mountain range across Finland, which eroded in the course of hundreds of millions of years.
The Geopark’s history is a story of dramatic changes in the landscape: with wide mires of today were originally an impressive mountain scene, which, however, eroded a long time ago. The mountain range rose and fell in the distant past, but the events left in their wake a landscape that has promoted the development of a diverse mire habitat. The different types of mires, and the related cultural history, are an important part of the Geopark’s story.
The Azores UNESCO Global Geopark has a rich geodiversity and an important geological heritage, based on a network of 121 geosites dispersed by the nine islands and the surrounding seafloor, with a total area of 12,884 sq. km (including the 2,324 sq. km of the emerged territory).
All the Azores islands are of volcanic origin and are oceanic islands that emerged from the surrounding seafloor due to the progressively piled up of submarine volcanic products, a process that should have started about 36 million years (M.y.)
The international relevance of the archipelago’s geology relies on its 27 main volcanic systems, in which 16 of them are still active, even on a dormant stage. The Azorean geodiversity includes geo-landscapes as domes and coulées, calderas, lakes, lava fields, fumaroles, hot springs and thermal waters, volcanic caves, “fajãs”, fault scarps and marine fossil deposits, among many others.
Since the settlement (in the 15th century), the Azorean people learned how to live with active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes, taking advantage of its fertile soils (e.g. winery landscapes), their geological resources (e.g. water and thermal areas) and beautiful landscapes that ever since attracts visitors from all over the World.