Global Network of National Geoparks

The Important Geosites in Zanjan Province and Geotorism(North West of Iran)

Published :February 13, 2008

Reza.Khoshraftar : faculty member geography dept Zanjan University
Samye.Binafar : high school teacher Zanjan City

Zanjan province with 22500 square kilometer is situated   in North West of Iran between 37°15'- 35 °33' N and 47°10' -  49 °26' E.  From geological point of view is a part of central Iran and in geomorphologic classification it is identified as North West geomorphologic unit. Most of Zanjan area overlap with Zanjan sub geomorphologic unit or region. Volcanic formations(such as Karaj green formation), Precambrian intrusive granite rocks (e.g. Doran formation), major faults (for instance Tabriz - Soltanie fault), Miocene evaporative basins and karst topography resulted in a variety of geosites in this province.

Mountains and interval  plains are stretching from north West  to South East direction and drained by Ghezel Ozan, its tributaries (such as Zanjan River) and Abhar River. Ghezel Ozan pours into Caspian Sea and Abhar River goes to Hoz-e-Soultan lake in Central Iran. The highest point in province is 3332 m above sea level in Belghaise Mountain  and lowest is (250 m) located near to Sefidrood reservoir.

Karstic caves such as  katalekhor and Kharmanesar caves in South and North East of the province, Chehr-Abad historical salt mine (where six  salt man were discovered in North West of the province), tens of fingers of god and butte in conglomerate formations in Mahneshan and Angoran districts, badlands in Tarom area and west of zanjan city, tens of diappery doms in Ghezel Ozan watershed, mushrooms in granetic rocks, and several hot springs are examples of this geosites. Some of these geosites can have national or international importance. Zanjan province have seven Protected Areas and Wild life Refuges that totals 4220 square kilometer. Some of these geosites are located within these protected areas. The Province is thus have a very favorable conditions for geotorism development.

Key word: Geosite, Zanjan province, Katalekhor cave, Salt men, Finger of god