What is a Geopark?
What is a UNESCO geopark?
UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development. A UNESCO Global Geopark uses its geological heritage, in connection with all other aspects of the area’s natural and cultural heritage, to enhance awareness and understanding of key issues facing society, such as using our earth’s resources sustainably, mitigating the effects of climate change and reducing natural disasters-related risks. By raising awareness of the importance of the area’s geological heritage in history and society today, UNESCO Global Geoparks give local people a sense of pride in their region and strengthen their identification with the area. The creation of innovative local enterprises, new jobs and high quality training courses is stimulated as new sources of revenue are generated through geotourism, while the geological resources of the area are protected.
UNESCO Global Geoparks empower local communities and give them the opportunity to develop cohesive partnerships with the common goal of promoting the area’s significant geological processes, features, periods of time, historical themes linked to geology, or outstanding geological beauty. UNESCO Global Geoparks are established through a bottom-up process involving all relevant local and regional stakeholders and authorities in the area (e.g. land owners, community groups, tourism providers, indigenous people, and local organizations). This process requires firm commitment by the local communities, a strong local multiple partnership with long-term public and political support, and the development of a comprehensive strategy that will meet all of the communities’ goals while showcasing and protecting the area’s geological heritage.
Read more about UNESCO geoparks here.
What is Magma UNESCO Global Geopark?
Magma UNESCO Global Geopark, with its unique European geology, is one of 140 UNESCO Global geoparks around the world today. At Magma Geopark, you enter an area that was once more than 20 km below the surface of the Earth, and was covered by an enormous mountain range as big as the Himalayas. Down here, the rocks around the molten magma (molten rock), were more than ten times as hot as boiling water. At this high temperature and huge pressure, the magma started to cool and crystallise (solidify) and formed some very interesting types of magmatic, large crystal rock. One example is Anorthosite, which is the same rock that is found on the surface of the moon. At Magma Geopark, you can therefore find out what it’s like to walk on the moon.
Over thousands of millions of years, the huge mountain range that extended over Magma Geopark was eroded by warm and cold periods. Many of the cold periods were so cold that we call them Ice Ages, during which huge glaciers covered all of Norway. There have been around 200 such periods. At the end of the last Ice Age, which was only around 10 000 years ago, the ice and the huge amount of water from the melting ice put the finishing touch to the landscape. Among other things, the ice left behind exciting sculptures made from rocks of all shapes and sizes, where some balance precariously, others stand on top of each other and some, like Troll Dick Rock, jut out from the rock.
After the Ice Age, the Stone Age brought people across the ice from Denmark, who settled at the edge of the ice front and hunted for a living. Later, during the bronze Age, people began to settle more permanently and started building homes and cultivating the land. At Magma Geopark, we find traces of human life through the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Viking Age, the Middle Ages, Modern history and the world wars, were the different ages and events have impacted the area in different ways. At Magma Geopark, you can come and hear interesting stories about how man and geological processes have formed and influenced nature and the landscape we now see.