Cerro Manchan, Ancash, Peru



 North America



European Geoparks

Earth Heritage Sites

The importance of Earth heritage sites cannot be overstated.  Acknowledgement and preservation of such landscapes and features recognition of their richness of meaning, the processes that operate and have operated to create them, and augur possibilities for people to realise these. Earth heritage sites include bedrock and surficial geological features, landforms and geomorphic process areas, biomes, soils, and culturally significant natural features and landscapes.

The goal of any assessment project involved with Earth heritage sites is to identify and document geomorphological features because of their known or potential worth to the peoples.  Such an undertaking is in line with recent UNESCO legislation for the protection of world sites of geological heritage.  Most of the identified sites of geological heritage around the world are in fact geomorphological phenomena, and so the effort to catalog such places known as Geotopes or Geomorphosites is very much in keeping with the UNESCO provisions.

The efforts involved in the study and valuation of geomorphosites provide the means by which society at once recognises the inherent worth and the potential for future enrichment if the site is protected, made accessible to the public, and is properly documented.  At the international level key bodies are 1) the Earth Observation Section, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences at UNESCO; 2) the International Union for Conservation of Nature; International Union of Geological Sciences; and International Association of Geomorphologists.