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Geo-Singularity of the Valley-Fault of Teixidelo and Candidacy to Geopark of Cape Ortegal (NW Iberian Peninsula): Preliminary Assessment of Challenges and Perspectives

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Abstract

Recently, a project has been set in motion to declare the Cape Ortegal complex (NW Iberian Peninsula), a geological reference in Spain and Europe, as a geopark. This initial phase has the purpose of reflecting and discussing the benefits of creating a geopark as a tool to foment education in geodiversity, geotourism, and scientific debate. We define geo-singularities as those elements of a geopark that stand out the most to a tourist due to their processes, forms, compositions, or mere presence in situ, being able to do so in a scientific, spiritual or sensitive manner, among others. Geo-singularities are, therefore, of first-rate geotourism value. This case report focuses on the Teixidelo valley-fault geo-singularity, whose main attraction is the movement of its base (> 30 m in the last 70 years). We relied on field observations and literature review and benefited from discussions during conference workshops, meetings, and personal interviews with local associations, the local community, and municipal administrators. Thanks to this information, we were able to conduct our analysis towards the development of a collective reflection exercise about tourism on a global, regional, and local level, capable of providing insight to politicians and local organizations in the management of geotourism at the Cape Ortegal complex, as well as questioning if the geopark is a good strategy for the member municipalities. This analysis and collective interpretation allowed us to determine the potentialities, dangers, and challenges of the Teixidelo valley-fault as a geotourism asset in the framework of the Cape Ortegal complex. The current tourism situation, within a global context, is characterized by a significant increase in tourists who have experienced different geological assets. In many cases, this translated into a massification of places that were not prepared to receive so many tourists. We have identified two types of massification: projected (places that the Administration promotes without a proper management and protection plan) and another random one (the popularity of a place for a specific and unforeseeable reason). Geo-singularities are a strategic tool that can become a showcase piece for a geopark. The type of management strategy applied will largely determine the future geo-conservation of the geological values of the study area. Based on this, a first action plan was designed aimed at municipal governments and local associations. The reflections, approaches, and proposals carried out in this case report can be extrapolated to other territories, whether or not they are geoparks.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Víctor Bouzas Blanco (author of Fig. 1), Ian C. Fuller, Alissa Jensen, and Jeremy Miller for their help.

Funding

The first author is a beneficiary of the post-doctoral fellowship named Programa de ayudas de apoyo a la etapa inicial de formación posdoctoral (2017) founded by the Consellería de Cultura, Educación e Ordenación Universitaria de la Xunta de Galicia (Government of Galicia, Spain). The second author is a beneficiary of the pre-doctoral fellowship FPU 13/00168 founded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain.

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Correspondence to Jesús Horacio.

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Horacio, J., Muñoz-Narciso, E., Sierra-Pernas, J.M. et al. Geo-Singularity of the Valley-Fault of Teixidelo and Candidacy to Geopark of Cape Ortegal (NW Iberian Peninsula): Preliminary Assessment of Challenges and Perspectives. Geoheritage 11, 1043–1056 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-019-00349-2

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