Geological Survey chooses heritage locations in Maharashtra and Karnataka for UNESCO site statusIOCRPrelims Only



From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Global Geoparks Network

Mains level: Not Much



  • In a first, an ancient circular lake created by a meteorite strike in Maharashtra and a hexagonal mosaic of basaltic rocks in an island off Udupi are set to become global geoparks, under a Geological Survey of India (GSI) plan.
  • Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and St. Mary’s Island and Malpe beach in coastal Karnataka are the GSI’s candidates for UNESCO Global Geopark Network status.

Requirements of Global Geoparks

  1. An aspiring Global Geopark must have a dedicated website, a corporate identity, comprehensive management plan, protection plans, finance, and partnerships for it to be accepted.
  2. The Geopark tag is akin to that of a ‘World Heritage Site’ for historical monuments that can bring India’s famed geological features to the global stage.
  3. Lonar lake is the only known meteorite crater in basaltic rock and is world famous, while St. Mary’s island is a unique phenomenon that has been preserved well.
  4. Mary’s Island, declared a national geo-heritage site in 1975, is estimated to be an 88-million-year-old formation that goes back to a time when Greater India broke away from Madagascar.


Global Geoparks Network

  1. The Global Geoparks Network (GGN) is a UNESCO assisted network established in 1998.
  2. The GGN works in close synergy with another project under UNESCO’s Ecological and Earth Sciences Division—the Man and Biosphere (MAB) World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
  3. A set of criteria as established by UNESCO must first be met for a geopark, as nominated by the corresponding government, to be included in the GGN:
  • the existence of a management plan designed to foster socio-economic development that is sustainable (most likely to be based on agritourism and geotourism);
  • demonstrate methods for conserving and enhancing geological heritage and provide means for teaching geoscientific disciplines and broader environmental issues;
  • joint-proposals submitted by public authorities, local communities and private interests acting together, which demonstrate the best practices with respect to Earth heritage conservation and its integration into sustainable development strategies.

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