, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 549–560 | Cite as

Inventory and Assessment of Fluvial Potholes to Promote Geoheritage Sustainability (Miño River, NW Spain)

  • Miguel Ángel Álvarez-VázquezEmail author
  • Elena De Uña-Álvarez
Original Article


The Miño is the most important river in the NW Iberian Peninsula. When it flows through Ourense town (Spain), the attractiveness of the thermal springs hides the importance of the fluvial potholes developed over bedrock. These forms reflect the strength of erosion processes, linked to fluvial incision over time. Potholes have an environmental, didactic, socio-economic and cultural potential. In order to promote their integration within territorial heritage, this research is focused on a place-based knowledge and practice. This study aimed to define the meanings and interests of fluvial potholes, regarding their sustainable uses as georesources and offering fit information for the key social actors to assist territorial development. An inventory of sculpted forms was carried out in an urban reach of the Miño River. After the site diagnosis and form characterisation, a set of fluvial potholes (82 cases) was identified within the thermal area. The assessment of the geomorphological and use/management interests delivered their values as resources for territorial sustainability. Ten potholes, selected from a preliminary list and identified through the methodology, have a potential for education, leisure and recreation. Actions designed to raise awareness of the interests and values of these geodiversity components are also presented.


Bedrock rivers Sculpted forms Potholes Geomorphological heritage Sustainability 



This research was partially supported by the project ‘State of Geomorphological Heritage within the Thermal Surroundings of Ourense’, reference INOU15-02 G501 131H 64702, funded by the Vicerrectorado del Campus de Ourense (Water Campus, University of Vigo) and the Diputación de Ourense. MA Álvarez-Vázquez thank the Plan I2C (2011-2015) of the Xunta de Galicia in collaboration with the International Campus do Mar (ED481A-2015/410) for a grant.


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Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of History, Art and GeographyUniversity of Vigo (Spain)OurenseSpain
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (IIM-CSIC)VigoSpain

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