Next Article in Journal
Oil Theft, Energy Security and Energy Transition in Mexico
Previous Article in Journal
A Tailing Dump as Industrial Deposit; Study of the Mineralogical Composition of Tailing Dump of the Southern Urals and the Possibility of Tailings Re-Development
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Geosite Assessment and Communication: A Review

Federico Pasquaré Mariotto
Kyriaki Drymoni
Fabio L. Bonali
Alessandro Tibaldi
Noemi Corti
2 and
Paolo Oppizzi
Department of Human and Innovation Sciences, Insubria University, 21100 Como, Italy
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Milan-Bicocca University, 20126 Milan, Italy
CRUST-Interuniversity Center for 3D Seismotectonics with Territorial Applications, 66100 Chieti, Italy
4, 6872 Mendrisio, Switzerland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Resources 2023, 12(2), 29;
Submission received: 3 December 2022 / Revised: 5 February 2023 / Accepted: 10 February 2023 / Published: 13 February 2023


This work is aimed at reviewing the current state of the art in geosite selection, assessment, and communication. We first highlight the main papers that have defined paramount concepts such as geodiversity, geoheritage, and geosites. We then delve into the theoretical principles and guidelines that have been proposed over the last twenty years by researchers who have thoroughly illustrated how to individuate and assess geosites. In doing so, we illustrate notable field examples of applications of qualitative and quantitative assessments of geosites in places such as Serbia, India, Iceland, Ecuador, Sardinia (Italy), Egypt, Tasmania (Australia), and Brazil. The third part of this work is dedicated to illustrating a list (by no means exhaustive) of works that have tried to come up with innovative tools, strategies, and solutions to promote and communicate geosites. From our work, it appears that geosites can be extremely effective as fully fledged outreach tools capable of bridging the gap between Earth science and the lay public.

1. Introduction

1.1. Geodiversity, Geoheritage, Geosites

Natural diversity can be subdivided into biodiversity and geodiversity [1]. Geodiversity expresses a variety of geological (rocks, minerals, fossils, sediments), geomorphological, hydrogeological, volcanic, tectonic, stratigraphic, sedimentary, and paleogeographic features that represent the natural context on which anthropic activities take place [2,3,4,5]. Another key concept is geoheritage, which needs to be evaluated [6], managed [7], subjected to conservation [8,9,10,11,12,13,14], valorized through geoparks [15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24], and be the focus of geotourism [25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35], geoscience museums [36,37,38,39], and mapping [40,41]. Preserving geoheritage means safeguarding the natural diversity of major geomorphological and geological elements, i.e., geoheritage sites, also known as geosites. These are natural features [1] which represent the geological heritage of a territory [40,42] and are marked by a number of distinctive values, as illustrated in the next chapter. They are not always natural features, but they can be quarries, spoil tips, road cuttings, and even museum collections. Geosites can also be defined [43,44] as “places where geological objects or fragments of the geological environment are exposed on the land surface, and thus are accessible for visits and studies”. A step forward has been taken by Gioncada et al. [45], who have underscored that “the definition of a geosite should be interpreted as an outstanding outreach activity based on a deep knowledge of the general and local geological significance of the proposed site”. Geosites can be represented by geomorphological features and processes, which can be part of geomorphodiversity [46] and are called geomorphosites [25,47]. Geosites can be related to a great deal of topics within the Earth science field. Thus, there are paleontologic [48], mineralogic [49], petrologic, volcanic [50,51,52], tectonic, igneous, mining [45], hydrogeologic, sedimentary, stratigraphic, and paleogeographic geosites. A special mention to the latter is needed, given their complexity. In fact, Bruno et al. [53], describe paleogeographic geosites as “geological heritage sites that represent paleoenvironments in general or highlight particular paleoenvironmental features, which are of special interest for science, education, or tourism/recreation”. Geosites can be as small as a single outcrop or big and complex, such as the unique Granite Gorge in Mountainous Adygeya, Russia [54]. They can be classified in five typological categories: point, section, area, complex area, and viewpoint, as proposed by Fuertes-Gutiérrez & Fernández-Martínez [55]. On account of their importance, they may be of local, regional, national, or global relevance [56]. Geosites may also be differentiated based on their spatial appearance: circumscribed sites such as outcrops, linear features such as faults, as well as aerially extended features such as peaks.

1.2. Visual Examples of Geosites and a New Type of Geosite

In Figure 1a, we show a portion of the Mt. Etna volcano, a huge, complex geosite, composed of a great number of smaller volcanic geosites, the protection of which has been made possible by the institution of the Parco dell’Etna Geopark [57]. In Figure 1b, we display an example of a major tectonic geosite: the Kura foreland basin in the foreground, with the Kura fold-thrust belt [58,59] in the background. The two can be treated as one geosite because they are part of a unique tectonic process, i.e., the propagation of the Greater Caucasus towards its foreland basin, through an actively southward-propagating fold-thrust belt, whose basal thrust is seen at the transition between the plains and the mountains in the background. Figure 1c shows a wonderful example of a geomorphosite, the Godafoss waterfall in northeastern Iceland.
Among a possible new type of geosite, it is worth mentioning gravity-related landforms. An example of such gravity-related geosites is represented by deep-seated gravitational slope deformations, which are widespread in mountain ranges such as the Alps [60] and which are discussed among the examples of geosite communication provided in the third section of this work [61].
In the following chapters, we will focus on a number of milestone papers dealing with the selection and assessment of geosites, carried out through the application of a set of values. Subsequently, we will describe experiences of geosite promotion and communication. We wish to stress that our work is not comparable to bibliometric analyses that, according to Herrera-Franco et al. [62], contribute to reconstructing the evolution of an academic topic, such as geoheritage, from the beginning to future prospects. We have chosen to perform a selection of the numerous works on this topic, which we regard as most representative and challenging.

2. Geosite Selection and Assessment

2.1. Geosite Selection

First of all, it is worth pointing out that selecting a geosite for geoconservation implies defining its importance based on objective criteria and not on someone’s subjective judgement. So, before delving into geosite assessment, it is worth mentioning a set of works that have illustrated the methodology that needs to be used to select localities that ought to be recognized as geosites and geomorphosites and thus should be conserved, also for geotourism purposes (e.g., [63,64,65,66,67,68]). In this regard, it is particularly worth mentioning the milestone paper by Wimbledon et al. [65], which described in detail the comprehensive site selection program known as the Geological Conservation Review, undertaken in Britain from 1977 to 1991. The Review formed a vital foundation for successive Earth science conservation efforts. Its product was a complete network of scientifically justified sites for conservation. In the following years, a key initiative from the International Union of Geological Science (IUGS) was the project named GEOSITES, inaugurated in 1995 with the aim to identify meaningful geological and geomorphological sites at the worldwide and regional level [69,70].
Now, starting with some examples of selected geosites, we highlight the work by Migòn et al. [71], who described the granite geomorphological heritage of the Waldviertel region in Lower Austria, home to a great deal of geomorphosites represented by residual landforms, tors, and boulders, which can be observed in various sizes and shapes. In particular, their shapes can be very distinctive and uncommon, thus capable of capturing the interest of the lay people. On the other hand, Gnezdilova et al. [72] selected a number of geosites and highlighted their evolution in geological time, describing a sequence of ancient environments and ecosystems which may be very interesting for the public, also in order to increase awareness of past and future climate change. As illustrated by Archer [73], Hay [74], and Bottjer [75], extreme climate change comparable to the one we are experiencing today, as well as its impacts on the environment, can be observed in our planet’s geological history. Therefore, paleogeographic geosites could be used as educational tools, unveiling past and current climate change, and prompting mitigation and adaptation strategies.

2.2. Geosite Assessment

A major effort has been made in the recent past, by several authors [1,76,77,78,79,80], to come up with approaches aimed at performing the assessment of geosites, using a range of criteria. Most assessment efforts use the scientific value [81], which may be subdivided into four subcriteria: representativeness, integrity, rarity [82,83,84], and also the degree of scientific knowledge about the geosite, attested by the number and quality of published scientific studies focused on the geosite [1]. Representativeness regards how exemplary a geosite is in terms of the geological processes that can be seen there. Rarity pertains to the uncommonness of the geosite if compared to geosites of the same typology at the global level, whereas integrity represents the degree to which the geosite is preserved [83].
In addition to the scientific one, other values, referred to as “additional” [85,86], can be identified and assessed: cultural, ecologic, economic, aesthetic, and educational. The cultural value consists of four subcriteria: historical, artistic, religious, and literary [83]. Among the above, it is particularly worth mentioning the aesthetic value [87] and the educational value, the latter defined [1] as the combination of didactic relevance (how easily a geosite’s characteristics or processes might be understood by the lay people), safety, accessibility, and possible exploitation of the geosite for educational activities (georoutes and guided tours). We hereunder provide an overview of a number of papers that dealt with geosites, described them, and subsequently attempted to assess their quality on the basis of most (or some) of the above criteria and values. Regarding geomorphosite assessment, many works in the last two decades have taken on this task [31,47,83,85,88,89,90].
We begin our overview with the work by Pasquaré Mariotto et al. [63], who focused on two key areas of Iceland, namely the Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the western part of the island, and the North Volcanic Zone (NVZ), a tectonically active area in northern Iceland. In regard to the first area, the authors identified two peaks (Figure 2): the 1446-m-high Snæfellsjökull stratovolcano and Kirkjufell, or “Church Mountain”.
Regarding the first, the authors were able to recognize virtually all the values that concur to assess the quality of a geosite, including the literary one, as Snæfellsjökull is featured in the well-known science-fiction novel by Jules Verne, Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864). The famous stratovolcano also has a high educational value: in fact, it is easily accessible and is situated within the Snæfellsjökull National Park (founded in 2001), where guided tours are carried out on a regular basis. As pertains to Kirkjufell, although not as representative of most values that define a geosite, it certainly has a major educational value. In fact, all subcriteria can be mentioned and assessed: the peak is very easily accessible, the processes that led to its formation (glacial erosion of a pile of ancient basalts) can be easily understood by the lay people, and, finally, guided tours to the base of the peak are conducted regularly.
A very good example of geosite assessment is the one performed by Carriòn Mero et al. [91], whose work has been aimed at evaluating the most interesting geosites in the Chimborazo province (Ecuador) and putting forth options for the development of geotourism in the study area. The authors’ methodological approach was based on: (i) a preliminary inventory of geosites that resulted in 20 selected geosites; (ii) a semi-quantitative geosite assessment and proposal of travel itineraries for geotourism purposes; and (iii) the application of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) matrix to the development of geotourism strategies, keeping into account the principles and values of sustainability. The authors’ assessment suggested that 25% of the 20 evaluated geosites are very highly interesting and 75% are highly interesting. The top three geosites assessed by the authors are the Chimborazo volcano, also known as “Earth’s Closest Point to the Sun”, the Pallatanga fault, active for the last 600 ka [92], and the geosite called Cacha Community, which features rustic huts and circular museums as part of the Pucaratambo tourist center.
The Geosite Assessment Model (GAM) methodology was first applied by Vujičić et al. [93], when dealing with the assessment of geosites in the Fruska Gora Mountain, located at the confluence of the Danube and Sava Rivers, in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, northern Serbia. For the purpose of their research, the authors used the inventory of geosites at Fruska Gora Mountain that had been assembled by Markovic et al. [94], who had come up with 14 geosites, evaluated in terms of their scientific, educational, and aesthetic values, current condition, and accessibility. The result of the further assessment by Vujičić et al. [93] suggests that the Fruska Gora Mountain geosites have a good number of main values, but low additional values; the authors conclude that they could be considered only as potential tourist attractions in terms of their scientific/educational value and aesthetic attractiveness.
According to Tomic and Božic [95], the Lazar Canyon area (eastern Serbia) shows a number of geosites of remarkable scientific value and high geotourism potential. The authors selected three geosites in particular: the Lazar Canyon, the Lazar Cave, and the Vernjikica Cave. For the assessment of the above geosites, they applied a slightly modified version of the GAM methodology, which they called M-GAM. This methodology entails the contribution of tourists, whose opinions, according to the authors, should lead to more objective and accurate results than those obtained by experts only.
Saurabh et al. [96] focused on the Mehrangarh ridge (MGR) of Jodhpur City, situated in northwestern India, whose landscape developed between 750 to about 540 million years ago and spans two major periods (Cryogenian and Ediacaran) of the Earth’s history. The authors, based on a qualitative assessment, identified 12 geosites that might be helpful in fostering the development of geotourism in India, a country which, according to the authors, has yet to establish its first geopark.
Fancello et al. [97] have focused their work on a stretch of coastline along the south-western side of the Gulf of Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. The authors selected seven geosites and assessed them on the basis of at least three of the following parameters: scientific value, educational value, aesthetic value, accessibility of the sites, and proximity to touristic facilities. This work is particularly valuable as it considers a region (Sardinia) whose geological significance and interest is well known to geologists but not to the hundreds of thousands of tourists that flock to the island every summer.
Sallam et al. [98] have centered their analysis on the Faiyum Oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt, renowned for its paleontological content, but whose geological heritage has not yet been studied in detail. By means of a careful assessment of the several geological features in the Oasis, the authors have performed an assessment that, together with the above-mentioned values, considers also the relative abundance and intrinsic diversity of the studied geosites. Their assessment made it possible to select 10 geosites that may become the main attraction of a future geopark situated in the Oasis.
Another example of geosite evaluation is contained in a work by Marescotti et al. [99], who have performed the qualitative and quantitative assessment of 10 geosites in the Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark (Liguria, Italy), which features 54 sites known for their significant geological peculiarities. Among the 54 sites, the authors selected five of the twelve geosites officially listed in the Italian National Inventory of geosites by ISPRA [100] and five geosites chosen as representative of different geological features and processes, as well as relevant educational activities conducted in the park during the past decade. For each of the selected sites, the authors carried out a qualitative and quantitative assessment by applying the criteria and methodology put forth by Brilha [1]. Among the great deal of outcomes of this milestone study, we chose to mention the fact that the quantitative assessment of the ten selected sites enabled us to observe a much higher scientific value of the geosites featured in the Italian inventory by ISPRA [100] than the other geosites (apart from one exception). This is consistent with the fact that geosites included in the Italian inventory must have, as a primary condition, a recognized scientific value in terms of representativeness, rarity, integrity, and scientific knowledge.
Visnic et al. [101] proposed a list of loess geosites on the Srem Loess Plateau, which may turn into major elements of Serbia’s geotourism potential. In doing so, the authors make use of the Geosite Assessment Model (GAM) proposed by Vujičić et al. [93]. Ten geosites have been assessed by way of the GAM model: half of them received high-level scores in terms of the criteria that can foster the development of geotourism in the area.
Franceschelli et al. [49] have concentrated on a single geosite, which could be called a “petrologic/mineralogic geosite”: in the territory near Tamarispa village (northeast Sardinia); they describe in detail stunning wollastonite–garnet–diopside-bearing marbles and illustrate mineralogical peculiarities such as the size of a rare garnet mineralization, represented by giant poikiloblastic garnet crystals up to 20 cm in diameter. The assessment of the geosite results in two main conclusions: it has a high scientific value (e.g., rarity of the garnets and representativeness of the petrological processes) and a major educational value, also being easily accessible for tourists.
The work by Carrion-Mero et al. [102] illustrates a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the “El Sexmo” Tourist Mine in Zaruma, southwestern Ecuador. The most challenging assessment was the quantitative one, made possible by the application of both the GAM methodology, proposed for the first time by Vujičić et al. [93], and the one elaborated later by Brilha [1]. The authors highlight the exceptionality of the Mine and claim that, thanks to their study and their proposals for protection and improvement, the number of visitors could increase from 9000 to approximately 12,000 people per year. This, in turn, would boost geotourism while at the same time pursue the goals of sustainable development of the area.
The work by Ruban et al. [103] centers on The Golden Triangle economic zone of eastern Egypt, between the Nile Valley and the Red Sea coast. This is a historical mining area rich in geological features. Field investigations and literature analysis have enabled the authors to identify eight notable geological sites, assessed as geosites based on the following criteria: accessibility, vulnerability, scientific value, educational value, touristic importance, and aesthetic attractiveness.
Wellington Park, located in southeastern Tasmania, is the location of research by Williams and McHenry [104], who assessed the geosites in the Park mainly according to the assessment methodology by Brilha [1]. They also made extensive use of Geographic Information Technology (GIT) tools while carrying out a revised inventory of the Park. Regarding the possible degradation, most geosites in Wellington Park were at low (59%) to moderate (37%) risk. In fact, many potential geosites were situated more than 1 km away from a degradation source, had reasonable legal protection, and had difficult accessibility.
A total of 25 paleontological geosites were analyzed by dos Santos et al. [105] in the Sousa sedimentary basin in northeast Brazil. The authors compiled an inventory and assessment of the scientific, educational, and touristic values, together with the vulnerability of the geosites. They concluded that the fossiliferous geosites of the Sousa basin have low scientific and touristic values, moderate educational value, and are subject to a high degree of vulnerability. In fact, the fossiliferous areas are affected by strong natural and anthropic threats and are at high risk of degradation. Based on their assessment, the authors do not judge favorably the possibility to develop a geopark in the Sousa basin.
Other interesting geosite assessment efforts are the ones performed by Tomić and Božić [95], Štrba [106], Kubalíková and Kirchner [107], Suzuki and Takagi [108], and Raeisi et al. [109]. All the above works have one point in common, i.e., to have performed the assessment of geosites and geomorphosites for geotourism development purposes.

3. Geosite Promotion and Communication

Once a geosite or a morphogeosite has been selected and assessed, it has to become subject to promotion and communication. In this chapter, we provide a few examples of this kind of crucial activity, without which geosites would remain something accessible only to Earth scientists and not to the lay public. We are aware that the list of examples detailed hereunder is by no means complete and exhaustive, and that there are other research groups that have been actively working in the field of geoheritage management, promotion, and communication, using cutting-edge technologies such as 3D visualization, web mapping, unmanned aerial vehicles, augmented reality, and virtual reality (e.g., [110,111,112,113,114,115,116]).
We introduce the first of the papers about which we are going to provide some brief details, by examining the work of Gioncada et al. [45], who have described the volcanic and mining geoheritage of San Pietro Island, Sardinia, Italy. The island belongs to the Sulcis Volcanic Province (SVP) at the southwestern end of Sardinia; according to previous work [117,118], the SVP is composed of eleven major ignimbrite sheets, from trachytes to rhyolites in composition. Gioncada et al. [45] have selected three geo-volcanological features: stunning megafolding structures of rhyolitic lava flows named comendites, some unique degassing features in ignimbrites, and beautiful manganese mineralizations with the associated mining heritage. The identified folds are extremely rare in that they affect the whole of the lava flows and have been described and discussed for the first time by Cioni and Funedda [119]. Another spectacular feature on the island is represented by particular cavities in welded ignimbritic deposits, due to particular degassing phenomena [120]. The third feature upon which the authors have concentrated their attention is typical of fossil volcanic environments, places where the deposition of economically valuable minerals often takes place. This is due to the action of hydrothermal fluids that move and concentrate ore metals [121]. At San Pietro, the spectacular features shown by the authors and deemed valuable in terms of geosite selection are peculiar black veins and nodules of Mn-oxide minerals, hosted in the lava and ignimbrite units. Four geosites are proposed by the authors, who then propose a great deal of activities that might serve to valorize the selected geosites on the island. We hereby provide the most meaningful ones: the revision and enhancement of geocommunication boards along the most frequented touristic trails; the realization of field guides for students and researchers as well as other divulgative materials (i.e., booklets) for the general public; and the proposal to renovate some of the old mining buildings, which might host small visitor centers to enable the tourists to obtain information about the mining history of the area.
Moving from one island to another, we examine the work by Antoniou et al. [122] in Santorini, Greece, one of the best-known volcanic localities in the world, as well as one of the most touristic. The key locality selected as a geosite is Metaxa Mine in the southwestern part of the Santorini Volcanic Complex. Here, mining of pumice was carried out until 1984. As the mine is nowadays abandoned (Figure 3), this provides a unique opportunity to make it a real open-air geological museum, useful for studying volcanic deposits of the most devastating eruption that took place on the island in the last 10,000 years (the so-called Minoan eruption), one of the largest volcanic explosive events on Earth [123,124,125]. Of particular interest and suitability for geosite communication is the Late Bronze Age (LBA) section, situated in the westernmost sector of the mine.
The mine itself is distinguished by the presence of 15-m-high, extremely steep cliffs, therefore unsuitable for fieldwork and touristic purposes, and also subject to debris flows and rock falls that prevent movement next to the outcrops to appreciate the succession of the deposits erupted during the Minoan eruption. However, the Metaxa Mine has a potentially high educational value, providing the lay public with an invaluable chance to learn about the succession of volcanic events that led to the deposition of the LBA section and other deposits seen in the mine. Therefore, the authors have decided to overcome these limitations by means of immersive virtual reality (IVR) and non-immersive VR techniques, thanks to which this outstanding site has been made available worldwide, both for scientific and educational purposes. The authors shared online the whole 3D model of the Metaxa Mine, accessible at (accessed on 18 November 2022), where all relevant features are highlighted, as well as the 3D model of the famous LBA section (, accessed on 18 November 2022).
Pasquaré Mariotto and Bonali [126] have showcased the use of virtual outcrops, or “virtual geosites”, to communicate to the lay public the peculiar processes that occur in the shallow crust and result in geological features known as “subvolcanic bodies”. These are outstanding in Iceland, where extensive glacial erosion has exposed the plumbing systems of ancient volcanoes. Subvolcanic bodies from Iceland have been studied in detail (e.g., [127,128,129]) but they are generally poorly known outside the small number of specialists that focus their research on these magmatic features. However, it is absolutely worth highlighting an outstanding work [130] that has been aimed at guiding readers through the “glorious geology of Iceland” and has also focused on subvolcanic bodies. In addition, Pasquaré Mariotto and Bonali [126] have chosen to assess a few subvolcanic bodies from eastern Iceland and subsequently to suggest a way to popularize them as geosites, possibly worthy of geotourism development. In doing so, they have shown a methodology to make these Icelandic geosites available to the general public, thanks to breakthrough methods involving the use of drones and structure from motion (SfM) techniques. They have thoroughly described five virtual geosites (VGs) in a “virtual geotour mode” and made them available online, so as to enable potential viewers to access them and gain a better knowledge of subvolcanic bodies and processes. An example of a VG can be accessed at (accessed on 21 November 2022).
Forno et al. [61] have taken on the task of looking into the topic of complex geosites, which are major elements of the geoheritage of a region, but whose geoconservation and promotion may be difficult to accomplish. The area the authors have focused on is distinguished by the presence of one of the most meaningful, gravity-related geomorphological features of the Italian Alps: the Pointe Leysser deep-seated gravitational slope deformation. According to the authors, this complex geosite could be promoted starting from a general overview of the slope, followed by the analysis of individual sites composing it. For doing so, they propose two options: (i) the employment of an app capable of showing the complex geosite as a whole, with a number of detailed insights into the individual elements of the slope; (ii) the use of a dedicated viewpoint geosite (as described by Migoń and Pijet-Migoń [131]) equipped with illustrative panels that might arouse the interest of viewers, who could plan a subsequent visit to the slope to examine some of the single sites. The authors conclude that a combination of the two approaches might be successful in achieving the goal of communicating such a complex and challenging geological environment.
Pasquaré Mariotto et al. [132] have shown a cutting-edge methodology that may enable non-scientific audiences to have access to geosites through immersive and non-immersive virtual reality. To do this, the authors have produced a dedicated WebGIS platform (, accessed on 26 November 2022), particularly suitable for communicating geoscience; they have selected nine volcanic outcrops in Santorini, Greece, which were turned into geospatial models—the so-called virtual geosites (VGs)—by means of UAV-based photogrammetry and 3D modeling. Subsequently, the authors have uploaded the nine VGs on an online platform, fully accessible for Earth science teaching and communication. The VGs are now accessible on a smartphone, a PC, or a tablet, and each VG features a detailed description and a number of useful annotations which guide the viewers during 3D navigation.
Martínez-Graña et al. [133] have described how they created a virtual geological itinerary in the Las Quilamas Natural Park, which has an area of 11,100 ha and is part of the Spanish Central System of the Hercynian Massif. They created a virtual map of the area with a series of points of interest (geosites), which can be accessed interactively via a series of geomatics tools such as smartphones, Google Earth, virtual 3D flight modelling, ability to access descriptive information via QR codes, and access to augmented reality.
Lansigu et al. [134], working in a private company whose purpose is to popularize and communicate geosciences, demonstrated how it is possible to raise awareness about geoheritage through a number of cutting-edge visual technologies. To show the validity of their approach to communicating geoheritage and geosites, they focused on the Lubéron Natural Park (Provence, France). Among the various products they have showcased, most noteworthy is the production of a short movie to present the geology of the Alps (in four languages) and the production of a 14-min cartoon with the different elements and geosites that characterize the geoheritage of the park.
Eight geosites with paleontological and geomorphological interest, representative of the Lower and Middle Miocene carbonate deposits near Albufeira in central Algarve (southern Portugal) have been selected by Martínez-Graña et al. [135]. The authors created a virtual 3D tour of the georeferenced geosites using augmented reality techniques and geoinformatic tools. Every stop in the tour is integrated by graphic elements that can be viewed in Google Earth, together with a great deal of information that quantitatively assess the educational and scientific value of the geosites. A virtual flight itinerary, compatible with video formats on smartphones, tablets, and iPads is also provided.

4. Conclusions

Geodiversity and geoheritage have been gaining increasing interest from the scientific community in the last couple of decades. Their most relevant expressions are geosites, which can help bridge the gap between Earth science and the lay public. Geosites must be identified and selected by geologists and geomorphologists based on a deep knowledge of their general and local geological meaning. Their assessment is paramount to ensure that they meet a precise set of prerequisites. The most outstanding effort in geosite assessment was performed in Great Britain in the 1980s and 1990s, when a set of frameworks were established, and the geosites were then assessed within these frameworks. Those assessments could be global, regional, national, or local, based on the best consensus among the scientific community. Once identified and assessed, geosites (also complex ones) can be promoted and communicated so as to educate the lay public in regard to geological topics, enhance geotourism, and increase the education potential of geoparks. In the last few years, technological advancements have made it possible to communicate geoheritage through a number of technologies, including GIS, augmented reality, animated cartoons and, most recently, virtual geosites (VGs). These can be accessed and navigated from home, thus increasing the possibility for the lay public to gain insights into the basic principles and concepts of geology and appreciate the cultural, educational, and scientific values of the selected geosites. Moreover, by taking a preliminary virtual look at geosites, the interest of potential visitors may be aroused, leading them to plan a visit in person.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, F.P.M. and K.D.; methodology, F.P.M.; writing—original draft preparation, F.P.M. and K.D.; writing—review and editing, F.P.M., K.D., F.L.B., A.T., N.C. and P.O.; supervision, A.T. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Data Availability Statement

No new data were created or analyzed in this study. Data sharing is not applicable to this article.


We wish to thank four anonymous reviewers, whose insightful comments and suggestions significantly helped us to improve our work.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Brilha, J. Inventory and quantitative assessment of geosites and geodiversity sites: A review. Geoheritage 2016, 8, 119–134. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  2. Herrera-Franco, G.; Mora-Frank, C.; Kovács, T.; Berrezueta, E. Georoutes as a Basis for Territorial Development of the Pacific Coast of South America: A Case Study. Geoheritage 2022, 14, 78. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  3. Gray, M. Geodiversity: Valuing and Conserving Abiotic Nature; John Wiley & Sons: Chichester, UK, 2004. [Google Scholar]
  4. Migoń, P. Granite landscapes, geodiversity and geoheritage-global context. Heritage 2021, 4, 198–219. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  5. Nieto, L.M. Geodiversidad: Propuesta de una definición integradora. Boletín Geológico Min. 2001, 112, 3–12. [Google Scholar]
  6. Brilha, J. Geoheritage: Inventories and evaluation. In Geoheritage: Assessment, Protection, and Management; Reynard, E., Brilha, J., Eds.; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2018. [Google Scholar]
  7. Erikstad, L. Geoheritage and geodiversity management—The questions for tomorrow. Proc. Geol. Assoc. 2013, 124, 713–719. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  8. Brocx, M.; Semeniuk, V. Geoheritage and geoconservation: History, definition, scope and scale. J. R. Soc. West. Aust. 2007, 90, 53–87. [Google Scholar]
  9. Burek, C.V.; Prosser, C.D. The History of Geoconservation: An introduction. Geol. Soc. Lond. Spec. Pub. 2008, 300, 1–5. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  10. Asrat, A.; Demissie, M.; Mogessie, A. Geoheritage conservation in Ethiopia: The case of the Simien mountains. Quaest. Geogr. 2012, 31, 7–23. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  11. Crofts, R.; Gordon, J.E. Geoconservation in protected areas. In Protected Area Governance and Management; Worboys, G.L., Lockwood, M., Kothari, A., Feary, S., Pulsford, I., Eds.; ANU Press: Canberra, Australia, 2015; pp. 531–568. [Google Scholar]
  12. Crofts, R. Putting geoheritage conservation on all agendas. Geoheritage 2018, 10, 231–238. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  13. Brilha, J.; Reynard, E. Geoheritage and Geoconservation: The Challenges. In Geoheritage; Reynard, E., Brilha, J., Eds.; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2018; pp. 433–438. [Google Scholar]
  14. Brocx, M.; Semeniuk, V. The ‘8Gs’—A Blueprint for geoheritage, geoconservation, geo-education and geotourism. Aust. J. Earth Sci. 2019, 66, 803–821. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  15. Zouros, N. The European Geoparks Network. Geological heritage protection and local development. Episodes 2004, 27, 165–171. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  16. De Grosbois, A.M.; Eder, W. Geoparks—A tool for education, conservation and recreation. Environ. Geol. 2008, 55, 465–466. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  17. Mckeever, P.; Zouros, N.; Patzak, M. The UNESCO global network of national geoparks. In Geotourism. The Tourism of Geology and Landscape; Newsome, D., Dowling, R.K., Eds.; Goodfellow Publishers Ltd.: Oxford, UK, 2010; pp. 221–230. [Google Scholar]
  18. Bitschene, P.; Schueller, A. Geo-education and geopark implementation in the Vulkaneifel European Geopark. Geol. Soc. Am. Field Guide 2011, 22, 29–34. [Google Scholar]
  19. Bitschene, P. Edutainment with basalt and volcanoes—The Rockeskyller Kopf example in the Westeifel Volcanic Field/Vulkaneifel European Geopark, Germany. Z. Dtsch. Ges. Geowiss. 2015, 166, 187–193. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  20. Pásková, M.; Zelenka, J. Sustainability management of unesco global geoparks. Sustain. Geosci. Geotourism 2018, 2, 44–64. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  21. Becerra-Ramírez, R.; Gosálvez, R.U.; Escobar, E.; González, E.; Serrano-Patón, M.; Guevara, D. Characterization and Geotourist Resources of the Campo de Calatrava Volcanic Region (Ciudad Real, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain) to Develop a UNESCO Global Geopark Project. Geosciences 2020, 10, 441. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  22. Perotti, L.; Bollati, I.M.; Viani, C.; Zanoletti, E.; Caironi, V.; Pelfini, M.; Giardino, M. Fieldtrips and virtual tours as geotourism resources: Examples from the Sesia Val Grande UNESCO Global Geopark (NW Italy). Resources 2020, 9, 63. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  23. Widawski, K.; Oleśniewicz, P.; Rozenkiewicz, A.; Zareba, A.; Jandová, S. Protected Areas: Geotourist Attractiveness for Weekend Tourists Based on the Example of Gorcza Nski National Park in Poland. Resources 2020, 9, 35. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  24. Xu, K.; Wu, W. Geoparks and geotourism in China: A sustainable approach to geoheritage conservation and local development: A review. Land 2022, 11, 1493. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  25. Panizza, M.; Piacente, S. Geomorphosites and geotourism. Rev. Geog. Acad. 2008, 2, 5–9. [Google Scholar]
  26. Newsome, D.; Dowling, R.K. Geotourism: The Tourism of Geology and Landscape; Goodfellow Publishers Ltd.: Oxford, UK, 2010. [Google Scholar]
  27. Dowling, R.K. Geotourism’s global growth. Geoheritage 2011, 3, 1–13. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  28. Burek, C.V. The role of LGAPs (Local Geodiversity Action Plans) and Welsh RIGS as local drivers for geoconservation within geotourism in Wales. Geoheritage 2012, 4, 45–63. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  29. Ehsan, S.; Leman, M.S.; Ara Begum, R. Geotourism: A tool for sustainable development of geoheritage resources. Adv. Mater. Res. 2012, 622–623, 1711–1715. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  30. Hose, T.; Vasiljević, D. Defining the nature and purpose of modern geotourism with particular reference to the United Kingdom and south-east Europe. Geoheritage 2012, 4, 25–43. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  31. Kubalíková, L. Geomorphosite assessment for geotourism purposes. Czech J. Tour. 2013, 2, 80–104. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  32. Szepesi, J.; Harangi, S.; Ésik, Z.; Novák, T.J.; Lukács, R.; Soós, I. Volcanic geoheritage and geotourism perspectives in Hungary: A case of an UNESCO world heritage site, Tokaj wine region historic cultural landscape, Hungary. Geoheritage 2017, 9, 329–349. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  33. Newsome, D.; Dowling, R. Geoheritage and Geotourism. In Geoheritage; Reynard, E., Brilha, J., Eds.; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2018; pp. 305–321. [Google Scholar]
  34. Kubalíková, L. Assessing Geotourism Resources on a Local Level: A Case Study from Southern Moravia (Czech Republic). Resources 2019, 8, 150. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  35. Beltrán-Yanes, E.; Dóniz-Páez, J.; Esquivel-Sigut, I. Chinyero Volcanic Landscape Trail (Canary Islands, Spain): A Geotourism Proposal to Identify Natural and Cultural Heritage in Volcanic Areas. Geosciences 2020, 10, 453. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  36. Reis, J.; Póvoas, L.; Barriga, F.J.A.S.; Lopes, C. Science education in a museum: Enhancing Earth Sciences literacy as a way to enhance public awareness of geological heritage. Geoheritage 2014, 6, 217–223. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  37. Pasquaré Mariotto, F.; Venturini, C. Strategies and tools for improving Earth Science education and popularization in museums. Geoheritage 2017, 9, 187–194. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  38. De Wever, P.; Guiraud, M. Geoheritage and Museums. In Geoheritage; Reynard, E., Brilha, J., Eds.; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2018; pp. 129–145. [Google Scholar]
  39. Venturini, C.; Pasquaré Mariotto, F. Geoheritage promotion through an interactive exhibition: A case study from the Carnic Alps, NE Italy. Geoheritage 2019, 11, 459–469. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  40. Fuertes-Gutiérrez, I.; Fernández-Martínez, E. Mapping geosites for geoheritage management: A methodological proposal for the regional park of Picos de Europa (León, Spain). Environ. Manag. 2012, 50, 789–806. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  41. Coratza, P.; Bollati, I.M.; Panizza, V.; Brandolini, P.; Castaldini, D.; Cucchi, F.; Deiana, G.; Del Monte, M.; Faccini, F.; Finocchiaro, F. Advances in Geoheritage Mapping: Application to Iconic Geomorphological Examples from the Italian Landscape. Sustainability 2021, 13, 11538. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  42. Palacio Prieto, J.L.; de Castro Martínez, G.F.; González, E.M.R. Geotrails in the mixteca alta UNESCO Global Geopark, Oaxaca, Mexico. Cuad. Geogr. 2019, 58, 111–125. [Google Scholar]
  43. Ruban, D.A. Quantification of geodiversity and its loss. Proc. Geol. Assoc. 2010, 121, 326–333. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  44. Ruban, D.A.; Kuo, I. Essentials of geological heritage site (geosite) management: A conceptual assessment of interests and conflicts. Nat. Nascosta 2010, 41, 16–31. [Google Scholar]
  45. Gioncada, A.; Pitzalis, E.; Cioni, R.; Fulignati, P.; Lezzerini, M.; Mundula, F.; Funedda, A. The Volcanic and Mining Geoheritage of San Pietro Island (Sulcis, Sardinia, Italy): The Potential for Geosite Valorization. Geoheritage 2019, 11, 1567–1581. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  46. Panizza, M. The Geomorphodiversity of the Dolomites (Italy): A key of geoheritage assessment. Geoheritage 2009, 1, 33–42. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  47. Panizza, M. Geomorphosites: Concepts, methods and examples of geomorphological survey. Chin. Sci. Bull. 2001, 46, 4–5. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  48. Herrera-Franco, G.; Erazo, K.; Mora-Frank, C.; Carrión-Mero, P.; Berrezueta, E. Evaluation of a Paleontological Museum as Geosite and Base for Geotourism. A Case Study. Heritage 2021, 4, 1208–1227. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  49. Franceschelli, M.; Columbu, S.; Elter, F.M.; Cruciani, G. Giant Garnet Crystals in Wollastonite–Grossularite–Diopside-Bearing Marbles from Tamarispa (NE Sardinia, Italy): Geosite Potential, Conservation, and Evaluation as Part of a Regional Environmental Resource. Geoheritage 2021, 13, 96. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  50. Joyce, B. Geomorphosites and volcanism. In Geomorphosites; Reynard, E., Coratza, P., Regolini-Bissig, G., Eds.; Verlag Dr. Friedrich Pfeil: München, Germany, 2009; pp. 175–188. [Google Scholar]
  51. Németh, K.; Casadevall, T.; Moufti, M.R.; Marti, J. Volcanic Geoheritage. Geoheritage 2017, 9, 251–254. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  52. Rapprich, K.; Lisec, M.; Fiferna, P.; Zavada, P. Application of modern technologies in popularization of the Czech volcanic geoheritage. Geoheritage 2017, 9, 413–420. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  53. Bruno, D.; Crowley, B.E.; Gutak, J.M.; Moroni, A.; Nazarenko, O.V.; Oheim, K.B.; Ruban, D.A.; Tiess, G.; Zorina, S.O. Paleogeography as geological heritage: Developing geosite classification. Earth Sci. Rev. 2014, 138, 300–312. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  54. Mikhailenko, A.; Ruban, D.; Yashalova, N.; Rebezov, M. The Unique Granite Gorge in Mountainous Adygeya, Russia: Evidence of Big and Complex Geosite Disproportions. Geosciences 2019, 9, 372. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  55. Fuertes-Gutiérrez, I.; Fernández-Martínez, E. Geosites Inventory in the Leon Province (Northwestern Spain): A Tool to Introduce Geoheritage into Regional Environmental Management. Geoheritage 2010, 2, 57–75. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  56. Zorina, S.O.; Silantiev, V.V. Geosites, classification of. In Encyclopedia of Mineral and Energy Policy; Springer: Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany, 2014. [Google Scholar]
  57. Pasquaré Mariotto, F.; Bonali, F.L.; Tibaldi, A.; De Beni, E.; Corti, N.; Russo, E.; Fallati, L.; Cantarero, M.; Neri, M. A New Way to Explore Volcanic Areas: QR-Code-Based Virtual Geotrail at Mt. Etna Volcano, Italy. Land 2022, 11, 377. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  58. Forte, A.; Cowgill, E.; Murtuzayev, I.; Kangarli, T.; Stoica, M. Structural geometries and magnitude of shortening in the eastern Kura fold-thrust belt, Azerbaijan: Implications for the development of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. Tectonics 2013, 32, 688–717. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  59. Forte, A.M.; Sumner, D.Y.; Cowgill, E.; Stoica, M.; Murtuzayev, I.; Kangarli, T.; Elashvili, M.; Godoladze, T.; Javakhishvili, Z. Late Miocene to Pliocene stratigraphy of the Kura Basin, a subbasin of the South Caspian Basin: Implications for the diachroneity of stage boundaries. Basin Res. 2015, 27, 247–271. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  60. Tibaldi, A.; Pasquaré Mariotto, F. Quaternary deformations along the ‘Engadine–Gruf tectonic system’, Swiss–Italian Alps. J. Quat. Sci. 2007, 23, 475–487. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  61. Forno, M.G.; Gianotti, F.; Gattiglio, M.; Pelfini, M.; Sartori, G.; Bollati, I.M. How Can a Complex Geosite Be Enhanced? A Landscape-Scale Approach to the Deep-Seated Gravitational Slope Deformation of Pointe Leysser (Aosta Valley, NW Italy). Geoheritage 2022, 14, 100. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  62. Herrera-Franco, G.; Carrión-Mero, P.; Montalván-Burbano, N.; Caicedo-Potosí, J.; Berrezueta, E. Geoheritage and Geosites: A Bibliometric Analysis and Literature Review. Geosciences 2022, 12, 169. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  63. Pasquaré Mariotto, F.; Bonali, F.L.; Venturini, C. Iceland, an open-air museum for geoheritage and Earth science communication purposes. Resources 2020, 9, 14. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  64. Alexandrowicz, Z. Representative geosites of Poland and their status of conservation. Geol. Balc. 1998, 28, 37–42. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  65. Wimbledon, W.A.P.; Benton, M.J.; Bevins, R.E.; Black, G.P.; Bridgland, D.R.; Cleal, C.J.; Cooper, R.G.; May, V.J. The Development of a methodology for the selection of British geological sites for geoconservation: Part 1. Mod. Geol. 1995, 20, 159–202. [Google Scholar]
  66. Wimbledon, W.A.P. Geosites: A new conservation initiative. Episodes 1996, 19, 87–88. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  67. Wimbledon, W.A.P. National site selection, a stop on the road to a European geosite list. Geol. Balc. 1996, 26, 15–28. [Google Scholar]
  68. Vdovets, M.S.; Silantiev, V.V.; Mozzherin, V.V. A national Geopark in the Republic of Tatarstan (Russia): A feasibility study. Geoheritage 2010, 2, 25–37. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  69. Cleal, C.J.; Thomas, B.A.; Bevins, R.E.; Wimbledon, W.A.P. ‘GEOSITES—An international geoconservation initiative’. Geol. Today 1999, 15, 64–68. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  70. Wimbledon, W.A.P. Geosites—An International Union of Geological Sciences initiative to conserve our geological heritage. Pol. Geol. Inst. Spec. Pap. 1999, 2, 5–8. [Google Scholar]
  71. Migòn, P.; Rózycka, M.; Michniewicz, A. Conservation and Geotourism Perspectives at Granite Geoheritage Sites of Waldviertel, Austria. Geoheritage 2018, 10, 11–21. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  72. Gnezdilova, V.V.; Ruban, D.A.; Bruno, D.E.; Perrotta, P.; Crowley, B.E.; Oheim, K.B.; Zayats, P.P. Geoheritage sites with palaeogeographical value: Some geotourism perspectives with examples from Mountainous Adygeja (Russia). Geološki Anal. Balk. Poluostrva 2015, 76, 93–104. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  73. Archer, D. The Long Thaw: How Humans Are Changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate; Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, USA, 2008; 180p. [Google Scholar]
  74. Hay, W.W. Can humans force a return to a ‘Cretaceous’ climate? Sediment. Geol. 2011, 235, 5–26. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  75. Bottjer, D.J. A climate carol: Ancient greenhouse mass extinctions and implications for a future greenhouse world. Geol. Soc. Am. Abstr. Programs 2012, 44, 165. [Google Scholar]
  76. Bruschi, V.; Cendrero, A. Direct and parametric methods for the assessment of geosites and geomorphosites. In Geomorphosites; Reynard, E., Coratza, P., Regolini-Bissig, G., Eds.; Verlag Friedrich Pfeil: Munchen, Germany, 2009. [Google Scholar]
  77. Pena dos Reis, R.; Henriques, M. Approaching an integrated qualification and evaluation system for geological heritage. Geoheritage 2009, 1, 1–10. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  78. Štrba, L.; Rybár, P.; Baláž, B.; Molokác, M.; Hvizdák, L.; Kršák, B.; Lukác, M.; Muchová, L.; Tometzová, D.; Ferencíková, J. Geosite assessments: Comparison of methods and results. Curr. Issue Tour. 2015, 18, 496–510. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  79. Bollati, I.; Fossati, M.; Zanoletti, E.; Zucali, M.; Magagna, A.; Pelfini, M. A methodological proposal for the assessment of cliffs equipped for climbing as a component of geoheritage and tools for earth science education: The case of the Verbano-Cusio-Ossola (Western Italian Alps). J. Virtual Explor. 2016, 49, 1–23. [Google Scholar]
  80. Warowna, J.; Zglobicki, W.; Kolodynska-Gawrysiak, R.; Gajek, G.; Gawrysiak, L.; Telecka, M. Geotourist values of loess geoheritage within the planned Geopark Malopolska Vistula River Gap, E Poland. Quatern. Int. 2016, 399, 46–57. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  81. Lima, F.; Brilha, J.; Salamuni, E. Inventorying geological heritage in large territories: A methodological proposal applied to Brazil. Geoheritage 2010, 2, 91–99. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  82. Grandgirard, V. L’évaluation des geotopes. Geol. Insubrica 1999, 4, 59–66. [Google Scholar]
  83. Reynard, E.; Fontana, G.; Kozlik, L.; Capozza, C. A method for assessing the scientific and additional values of geomorphosites. Geogr. Helv. 2007, 62, 148–158. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  84. Fassoulas, C.; Mouriki, D.; Dimitriou-Nikolakis, P.; Iliopoulos, G. Quantitative assessment of geotopes as an effective tool for geoheritage management. Geoheritage 2012, 4, 177–193. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  85. Coratza, P.; Giusti, C. Methodological proposal for the assessment of the scientific quality of of geomorphosites. Alp. Mediterr. Quat. 2005, 18, 307–313. [Google Scholar]
  86. Coratza, P.; Panizza, M. Geomorphology and Cultural Heritage; Memorie Descrittive Della Carta Geologica d’Italia; ISPRA: Rome, Italy, 2009; p. 87. [Google Scholar]
  87. Mikhailenko, A.V.; Nazarenko, O.V.; Ruban, D.A.; Zayats, P.P. Aesthetics-based Classification of Geological Structures in Outcrops for Geotourism Purposes: A Tentative Proposal. Geologos 2017, 23, 45–52. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  88. Pralong, J.P. A method for assessing tourist potential and use of geomorphological sites. Géomorphol. Relief Process Environ. 2005, 1, 189–196. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  89. Serrano, E.; González Trueba, J.J. Assessment of geomorphosites in natural protected areas; the Picos de Europa National Park (Spain). Géomorphol. Relief Process Environ. 2005, 1, 197–208. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  90. Pereira, P.; Pereira, D. Methodological guidelines for geomorphosite assessment. Géomorphol. Relief Process Environ. 2010, 1, 215–222. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  91. Carrión-Mero, P.; Borja-Bernal, C.; Herrera-Franco, G.; Morante-Carballo, F.; Jaya-Montalvo, M.; Maldonado-Zamora, A.; Paz-Salas, N.; Berrezueta, E. Geosites and Geotourism in the Local Development of Communities of the Andes Mountains. A Case Study. Sustainability 2021, 13, 4624. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  92. Bablon, M.; Quidelleur, X.; Samaniego, P.; Le Pennec, J.-L.; Audin, L.; Jomard, H.; Baize, S.; Liorzou, C.; Hidalgo, S.; Alvarado, A. Interactions between volcanism and geodynamics in the southern termination of the Ecuadorian arc. Tectonophysics 2019, 751, 54–72. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  93. Vujičić, M.D.; Vasiljević, D.A.; Marković, S.B.; Hose, T.A.; Lukić, T.; Hadžić, O.; Janićević, S. Preliminary geosite assessment model (GAM) and its application on Fruška Gora Mountain, potential geotourism destination of Serbia. Acta Geogr. Slov. 2011, 51, 361–376. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  94. Marković, S.B.; Mijović, D.; Jovanović, M.; Kovačev, N. Geoheritage sites of Fruška gora mountain. Prot. Nat. 2001, 53, 131–138. (In Serbian) [Google Scholar]
  95. Tomic, N.; Božic, S. A modified geosite assessment model (M-GAM) and its application on the Lazar Canyon area (Serbia). Int. J. Environ. Res. 2014, 8, 1041–1052. [Google Scholar]
  96. Saurabh, M.; Sudhanshu, S.; Singh, S.K.; Mathur, S.C. Qualitative Assessment of Geoheritage for Geotourism Promotion: A Case Study from Mehrangarh Ridge in Jodhpur City, Western Rajasthan, India. Geoheritage 2021, 13, 80–100. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  97. Fancello, D.; Columbu, S.; Cruciani, G.; Dulcetta, L.; Franceschelli, M. Geological and archaeological heritage in the Mediterranean coasts: Proposal and quantitative assessment of new geosites in SW Sardinia (Italy). Front. Earth Sci. 2022, 10, 910990. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  98. Sallam, E.S.; Fathy, E.E.; Ruban, D.A.; Ponedelnik, A.A.; Yashalova, N.N. Geological heritage diversity in the Faiyum Oasis (Egypt): A comprehensive assessment. J. Afr. Earth Sci. 2018, 140, 212–224. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  99. Marescotti, P.; Castello, G.; Briguglio, A.; Caprioglio, M.C.; Crispini, L.; Firpo, M. Geosite assessment in the Beigua UNESCO Global Geopark (Liguria, Italy): A case study in linking geoheritage with education, tourism, and community involvement. Land 2022, 11, 1667. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  100. ISPRA. The Italian Geosite Inventory. Available online: (accessed on 21 November 2022).
  101. Višnic, T.; Spasojevic, B.; Vujicic, M. The Potential for Geotourism Development on the Srem Loess Plateau Based on a Preliminary Geosite Assessment Model (GAM). Geoheritage 2016, 8, 173–180. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  102. Carrión-Mero, P.; Loor-Oporto, O.; Andrade-Ríos, H.; Herrera-Franco, G.; Morante-Carballo, F.; Jaya-Montalvo, M.; Aguilar-Aguilar, M.; Torres-Peña, K.; Berrezueta, E. Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of the “El Sexmo” Tourist Gold Mine (Zaruma, Ecuador) as A Geosite and Mining Site. Resources 2020, 9, 28. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  103. Ruban, D.A.; Sallam, E.S.; Khater, T.M.; Ermolaev, V.A. Golden Triangle Geosites: Preliminary Geoheritage Assessment in a Geologically Rich Area of Eastern Egypt. Geoheritage 2021, 13, 54. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  104. Williams, M.A.; McHenry, M.T. Tasmanian reserve geoconservation inventory assessment using Geographic Information Technology (GIT). Int. J. Geoheritage Park. 2021, 9, 294–312. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  105. dos Santos, W.F.S.; de Souza Carvalho, I.; Brilha, J.B.; Leonardi, G. Inventory and Assessment of Palaeontological Sites in the Sousa Basin (Paraíba, Brazil): Preliminary Study to Evaluate the Potential of the Area to Become a Geopark. Geoheritage 2016, 8, 315–332. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  106. Štrba, L. Identification and evaluation of geosites along existing tourist trail as a primary step of geotourism development: Case study from the Spiš region (Slovakia). GeoJ. Tour. Geosites 2015, 2, 127–141. [Google Scholar]
  107. Kubalíková, L.; Kirchner, K. Geosite and Geomorphosite Assessment as a Tool for Geoconservation and Geotourism Purposes: A Case Study from Vizovická vrchovina Highland (Eastern Part of the Czech Republic). Geoheritage 2016, 8, 5–14. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  108. Suzuki, A.; Takagi, H. Evaluation of geosite for sustainable planning and management in Geotourism. Geoheritage 2018, 10, 123–135. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  109. Raeisi, R.; Dincă, I.; Almodaresi, S.A.; Swart, M.P.; Boloor, A. An assessment of geosites and geomorphosites in the Lut desert of Shahdad region for potential geotourism development. Land 2022, 11, 736. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  110. Hobléa, F.; Delannoy, J.J.; Jaillet, S.; Ployon, E.; Sadier, B. Digital Tools for Managing and Promoting Karst Geosites in Southeast France. Geoheritage 2014, 6, 113–127. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  111. Martin, S. Interactive visual Media for geomorphological heritage interpretation. Theoretical approach and examples. Geoheritage 2014, 6, 149–157. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  112. Martin, S.; Reynard, E.; Pellitero Ondicol, R. Multi-scale Web Mapping for Geoheritage Visualisation and Promotion. Geoheritage 2014, 6, 141–148. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  113. Ravanel, L.; Bodin, X.; Deline, P. Using terrestrial laser scanning for the recognition and promotion of high-alpine geomorphosites. Geoheritage 2014, 6, 129–140. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  114. Aldighieri, B.; Testa, B.; Bertini, A. 3D exploration of the San Lucano Valley: Virtual geo-routes for everyone who would like to understand the landscape of the Dolomites. Geoheritage 2016, 8, 77–90. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  115. Cayla, N.; Martin, S. Digital Geovisualisation Technologies Applied to Geoheritage Management. In Geoheritage; Reynard, E., Brilha, J., Eds.; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2018; pp. 289–303. [Google Scholar]
  116. Santos, I.; Henriques, R.; Mariano, G.; Pereira, D.I. Methodologies to Represent and Promote the Geoheritage Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Multimedia Technologies, and Augmented Reality. Geoheritage 2018, 10, 143–155. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  117. Morra, V.; Secchi, F.A.; Assorgia, A. Petrogenetic significance of peralkaline rocks from Cenozoic calc-alkaline volcanism from SW Sardinia, Italy. Chem. Geol. 1994, 118, 109–142. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  118. Cioni, R.; Salaro, L.; Pioli, L. The Cenozoic volcanism of S. Pietro Island (Sardinia, Italy). Rend. Sem. Fac. Sci. Univ. Cagliari 2001, 71, 149–163. [Google Scholar]
  119. Cioni, R.; Funedda, A. Structural geology of crystal-rich, silicic lava flows: A case study from San Pietro Island (Sardinia, Italy). In Kinematics and Dynamics of Lava Flows; The Geological Society of America: Boulder, CO, USA, 2005; Volume 396, pp. 1–14. [Google Scholar]
  120. Mundula, F.; Cioni, R.; Mulas, M. Rheomorphic diapirs in densely welded ignimbrites: The Serra di Paringianu ignimbrite of Sardinia, Italy. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 2013, 258, 12–23. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  121. Pirajno, F. Hydrothermal Processes and Mineral Systems; Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2009; p. 1250. [Google Scholar]
  122. Antoniou, V.; Bonali, F.L.; Nomikou, P.; Tibaldi, A.; Melissinos, P.; Pasquaré Mariotto, F.; Vitello, F.R.; Krokos, M.; Whitworth, M. Integrating Virtual Reality and GIS Tools for Geological Mapping, Data Collection and Analysis: An Example from the Metaxa Mine, Santorini (Greece). Appl. Sci. 2020, 10, 8317. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  123. Friedrich, W.L.; Eriksen, U.; Tauber, H.; Heinemeier, J.; Rud, N.; Thomsen, M.S.; Buchardt, B. Existence of a water-filled caldera prior to the Minoan eruption of Santorini, Greece. Naturwissenschaften 1988, 75, 567–569. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  124. Druitt, T.H.; Edwards, L.; Mellors, R.M.; Pyle, D.M.; Sparks, R.S.J.; Lanphere, M.; Davies, M.; Barreirio, B. Santorini Volcano. Geol. Soc. Mem. 1999, 19, 165. [Google Scholar]
  125. Johnston, E.N.; Sparks, R.S.J.; Phillips, J.C.; Carey, S. Revised estimates for the volume of the late bronze age minoan eruption, santorini, Greece. J. Geol. Soc. 2014, 171, 583–590. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  126. Pasquaré Mariotto, F.; Bonali, F.L. Virtual Geosites as Innovative Tools for Geoheritage Popularization: A Case Study from Eastern Iceland. Geosciences 2021, 11, 149. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  127. Gudmundsson, A. Form and dimensions of dykes in eastern Iceland. Tectonophysics 1983, 95, 295–307. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  128. Gudmundsson, A. Emplacement and arrest of sheets and dykes in central volcanoes. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 2002, 116, 3–4. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  129. Tibaldi, A.; Bonali, F.L.; Pasquaré Mariotto, F.; Rust, D.; Cavallo, A.; D’Urso, A. Structure of regional dykes and local cone sheets in the Midhyrna-Lysuskard area, Snaefellsnes Peninsula (NW Iceland). Bull. Volcanol. 2013, 75, 764–780. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  130. Gudmundsson, A. The Glorious Geology of Iceland’s Golden Circle; Springer International Publishing: Cham, Switzerland, 2017; p. 334. [Google Scholar]
  131. Migoń, P.; Pijet-Migoń, E. Viewpoint geosites-Values, conservation and management issues. Proc. Geol. Assoc. 2017, 128, 511–522. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  132. Pasquaré Mariotto, F.; Antoniou, V.; Drymoni, K.; Bonali, F.L.; Nomikou, P.; Fallati, L.; Karatzaferis, O.; Vlasopoulos, O. Virtual Geosite Communication through a WebGIS Platform: A Case Study from Santorini Island (Greece). Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 5466. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  133. Martínez-Graña, A.M.; Goy, J.L.; Cimarra, C.A. A virtual tour of geological heritage: Valourising geodiversity using Google Earth and QR code. Comput. Geosci. 2013, 61, 83–93. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  134. Lansigu, C.; Bosse-Lansigu, V.; Le Hebel, F. Tools and methods used to represent geological processes and geosites: Graphic and animated media as a means to popularize the scientific content and value of geoheritage. Geoheritage 2014, 6, 159–168. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  135. Martínez-Graña, A.M.; Legoinha, P.; González-Delgado, J.A.; Dabrio, C.J.; Pais, J.; Goy, J.L.; Zazo, C.; Civis, J.; Armenteros, I.; Alonso-Gavilan, G.; et al. Augmented reality in a hiking tour of the Miocene Geoheritage of the Central Algarve cliffs (Portugal). Geoheritage 2017, 9, 121–131. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Figure 1. (a) In the foreground, the Bove Valley, in the background, the southeastern crater of Mt. Etna volcano. Photograph by F. Pasquaré Mariotto. (b) In the background, the Kura fold-thrust belt near its southern section, transitioning into the Kura foreland basin (in the foreground), Greater Caucasus, Azerbaijan. Photograph by F. Pasquaré Mariotto. (c) A very good example of a geomorphosite is the outstanding Godafoss waterfall in northeastern Iceland. Photograph by Paolo Oppizzi.
Figure 1. (a) In the foreground, the Bove Valley, in the background, the southeastern crater of Mt. Etna volcano. Photograph by F. Pasquaré Mariotto. (b) In the background, the Kura fold-thrust belt near its southern section, transitioning into the Kura foreland basin (in the foreground), Greater Caucasus, Azerbaijan. Photograph by F. Pasquaré Mariotto. (c) A very good example of a geomorphosite is the outstanding Godafoss waterfall in northeastern Iceland. Photograph by Paolo Oppizzi.
Resources 12 00029 g001
Figure 2. (a) The majestic figure of ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano; (b) Kirkjufell, an iconic peak that is the most photographed natural feature in Iceland. Photographs by Fabio L. Bonali.
Figure 2. (a) The majestic figure of ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano; (b) Kirkjufell, an iconic peak that is the most photographed natural feature in Iceland. Photographs by Fabio L. Bonali.
Resources 12 00029 g002
Figure 3. An overview of the outstanding pumice cliffs of Metaxa Mine, Santorini, Greece. UAV-captured photograph by Fabio Bonali. See man for scale on the left-hand side of the image.
Figure 3. An overview of the outstanding pumice cliffs of Metaxa Mine, Santorini, Greece. UAV-captured photograph by Fabio Bonali. See man for scale on the left-hand side of the image.
Resources 12 00029 g003
Disclaimer/Publisher’s Note: The statements, opinions and data contained in all publications are solely those of the individual author(s) and contributor(s) and not of MDPI and/or the editor(s). MDPI and/or the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to people or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Pasquaré Mariotto, F.; Drymoni, K.; Bonali, F.L.; Tibaldi, A.; Corti, N.; Oppizzi, P. Geosite Assessment and Communication: A Review. Resources 2023, 12, 29.

AMA Style

Pasquaré Mariotto F, Drymoni K, Bonali FL, Tibaldi A, Corti N, Oppizzi P. Geosite Assessment and Communication: A Review. Resources. 2023; 12(2):29.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pasquaré Mariotto, Federico, Kyriaki Drymoni, Fabio L. Bonali, Alessandro Tibaldi, Noemi Corti, and Paolo Oppizzi. 2023. "Geosite Assessment and Communication: A Review" Resources 12, no. 2: 29.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop