5 Stunning Geodiverse Destinations To See In Your Lifetime

5 Stunning Geodiverse Destinations To See In Your Lifetime
Qeshm Island in the Straight of Hormuz, Southern Iran, Photo Credit: Shutterstock

These places around the world showcase the spectacular diversity of the geology of our planet. They have been around for ages, and you may have heard of them. However, the idea behind UNESCO designating them as geodiverse hotspots is conservation

OT Staff
October 08 , 2022
04 Min Read

Recently, Mawmluh Caves located in the East Khasi Hills district made it to the first 100 geological heritage sites listed under International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) by UNESCO. The first 100 sites were chosen from 56 countries. The full list will be presented at the IUGS’s 60th anniversary event, which will take place in Zumaia, Spain. 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.

They have been around for ages, and you may have heard of them. However, the idea behind UNESCO designating them as geodiverse hotspots is conservation.  


Recently, the concept of geodiversity has become important for understanding the importance of abiotic nature. Although the idea has significant implications for shaping research on tourist sustainability, tourism scholarship has not yet demonstrated sufficient engagement with the idea.

Geodiversity refers to the existence of a wide variety of different geologic forms and processes within a specific geographic region. Maintaining a wide diversity of abiotic habitats and systems is vital to life on Earth.

Geodiversity and the “ecosystem services” provided by geoheritage resources has been promoted as important to successful conservation of protected areas.  As stated on the UNESCO site, “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 “ Since the 1990s, the IUGS’s Global Geosites Working Group has been developing a database of geological sites of international relevance. A preliminary database was implemented in several European countries.

Here are 5 stunning places around the world that showcse the diversity of the planet’s geology, and have been designated as geoparks by UNESCO. 

Imbabura is a land of lakes and volcanoes, inter-cultural heritage, legends, and more. Located in South America, in the inter-Andean region of the Republic of Ecuador. This space is characterised by volcanic complexes, lakes, waterfalls, geological faults, mines, archeological remains, and cultural heritage. The site covers an area of 4619.03km2. The highest peak is the Cotacachi Volcano, at 4939 metres above sea level, and the lowest point is the Guayllabamba River basin, at 600 metres above sea level.

Qeshm Island UNESCO Global Geopark is an island shaped like a dolphin in the Strait of Hormuz, off the southern coast of Iran. Its exposed geological formations have been shaped by erosion generating a range of spectacular landscapes and beautiful rock deserts. Its preservation is supported by green tourism activities managed by local communities.

Arxan is a mid-low mountain region situated in China’s Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia. With 35 well-exposed volcanoes that are over 2.5million years old, Arxan features an exceptionally dense concentration of volcanic landforms, with a rich variety of lakes and natural springs.  The UNESCO Global Geopark has developed extensive sustainable rural tourism services which offer the visitor a rare and unusual experience of a northern Chinese frontier area.

 The Stonehammer UNESCO Global Geopark is located on New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy, at the confluence of the Saint John and Kennebecasis rivers. The UNESCO Global Geopark is bounded on the south by the rugged coastline of the Bay of Fundy; east along the Fundy coast to the Village of St. Martins and the Fundy Trail; northeast to the Village of Norton; west to Little Lepreau and Lepreau Falls; north to include the Kingston Peninsula, Welsford and the Jones Creek area; and along the Saint John River valley to Hampstead.

The Causses du Quercy UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the southwest of France, at the northern end of the Midi-Pyrénées region. It features a unique karst heritage shaped by a unique geological history that led to the formation of phosphate caves containing thousands of perfectly preserved fossils that recorded life conditions 52 to 20 million years ago. It makes this area a true “natural evolution laboratory”. The study of these fossils is part of a participatory science education programme, Graines de paléontologues (


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