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Geoheritage in Deltaic Environments: Classification Notes, Case Example, and Geopark Implication

1
Department of Physical Geography, Ecology, and Nature Protection, Institute of Earth Sciences, Southern Federal University, Zorge Street 40, 344090 Rostov-on-Don, Russia
2
Department of Economics and Management, Business School, Cherepovets State University, Sovetskiy Avenue 10, Cherepovets, 162600 Vologda Region, Russia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Environments 2019, 6(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments6020018
Received: 15 January 2019 / Revised: 29 January 2019 / Accepted: 31 January 2019 / Published: 3 February 2019
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Abstract

River deltas boast ecosystem richness, but their efficient conservation and management require consideration of the full spectrum of natural phenomena, including those which are geological. Few specialists have explored the issue of deltaic geological heritage (geoheritage), and the relevant knowledge remains scarce and non-systematised. This paper proposes the first classification of this geoheritage. Five categories are distinguished: entire-delta geological phenomenon, delta-associated “purely” geological features, delta-associated features resulting from geology–ecosystem interactions, geological features occasional to deltas, and geoarchaeological localities in deltas. Chosen as a case example, the Don River delta in the southwestern part of Russia possesses geoheritage of these categories, except for the latter. The relevant unique geological features differ by their types and ranks. Of particular interest is the phenomenon of a self-cleaning environment which prevents mercury concentration in the soil despite pollution from natural and anthropogenic sources. The complexity of the deltaic geoheritage, its co-existence with the rich biodiversity, and the aesthetical issues make geopark creation in river deltas a sensible venture. Relevant proposals have been made for Malaysia and the Netherlands–Belgium border, and the Don River delta in Russia also presents an appropriate location for geopark creation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Don River; geoconservation; mercury; river delta; self-cleaning environment Don River; geoconservation; mercury; river delta; self-cleaning environment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Mikhailenko, A.V.; Ruban, D.A. Geoheritage in Deltaic Environments: Classification Notes, Case Example, and Geopark Implication. Environments 2019, 6, 18.

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