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Inventory and Characterization of Geosites in Ecuador: a Review

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Abstract 

The primary aims of this paper are to document the existing inventory and characterization of geosites in Ecuador, through the review of relevant public documents (articles, reports, etc.), and to demonstrate the potential of the country’s geological heritage. The methodology was based on (i) the compilation of documents about inventory and characterization of sites with geological or mining interest in Ecuador and (ii) the assessment of the above studies according to the description and value of the geosites.

A total of 372 geosites (56 in a UNESCO geopark, 47 in aspiring geoparks, 158 in geopark projects, 73 in geological itineraries and 38 in other initiatives) were identified in Ecuador. Two hundred seventy-six geosites (74.19% of those inventoried) were evaluated with international methods, 65.94% of which (182) used the ILIEG method. The 182 sites fall into the high and very high geological interest categories. In general, we found that most of the reviewed studies meet the protocols/guidelines recommended for this type of surveys. However, some limitations were also detected due to non-homogeneous assessment criteria or the lack of detailed quantitative assessment. The study revealed that Ecuador has a sound knowledge base to address the geoconservation challenges that the country will face in coming decades.

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Fig. 1

Modified from BGS-CODIGEM (1983), Aspden et al. (1987) and Cediel et al. (2003)

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the research project called “Registry of geological and mining heritage and its impact on the defense and preservation of geodiversity in Ecuador, CIPAT–01–2018. This work is based on previous initiatives sponsored by the Red Minería XXI (CYTED: 407310RT0402, IGME). Furthermore, we thank the reviewers and editorial committee for their observations and suggestions for improving the manuscript”

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Berrezueta, E., Sánchez-Cortez, J.L. & Aguilar-Aguilar, M. Inventory and Characterization of Geosites in Ecuador: a Review. Geoheritage 13, 93 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12371-021-00619-y

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