Global Network of National Geoparks

Discussion on construction of fossil-dominated geoparks of china

Published :March 6, 2008
Zhang jianping1, Li minglu2, Tian Mingzhong1 & Wu fadong1
Research Center for Geopark Investigation and Evaluation, China University of Geosciences, Beijing, 100083, China
2Ministry of Land and Resources, China

Keywords: Fossil-dominated Geopark; geoheritage protection; geological knowledge popularization

China is rich in fossil localities, which are almost all over the country and cover a wide span of geological history. Among 138 existing Chinese national geoparks, there are more than 30 national geoparks dominated by important fossil localities, such as Chengjiang Fauna in Yunnan (Early Cambrian), Guanlin Fauna in Guizhou (Triassic), Dashanpu Dinosaur Fauna in Sichuan (Middle Jurassic), Silicified Woods Site (Jurassic, Xinjiang), Johel Biota in Western Liaoning (Jurassic-Cretaceous), Xixia Dinosaur Egg Site in Henan (Cretaceous), Shanwang Biota in Shandong (Miocene), Hezhen Fauna in Gansu (Cenozoic).

Most of these fossil localities yield abundant and exquisite-preserved fossil, some of which provide key evidence in the process of life evolution. Different from the landscape-dominated geoparks, the fossil dominated ones usually are lack of charming natural sceneries, therefore, how to make an attractive geopark has become an important task for each of these geoparks. During the construction process of fossil-dominated geoparks, we considered that the following focuses should be paid much attention:
1. The construction of fossil-dominated geoparks should follow the principle "the Protection is the first, and the development is the second". The protection objectives include the fossils, sections and surrounding environment. The possible damages (such as mudsiled and natural weathering) must be properly treated;

2. The precious and beautiful fossils are very attractive materials for the public, so a well-equipped and finely designed museum is a key item for a good fossil-dominated geopark, which could fully display the charms of all fossils and attract a lot of visitors, especially the young visitors, it is also a good way to popularize the relevant knowledge of geology, the on-site fossil protection is also very important;

3. It is necessary to carry out geological survey in the surrounding areas, and find other geoheritage to supplement contents of the geopark, which are usually very useful to understand the past environments in which the past life lived, this is also a good way to attract more and more visitors;

4. For the purpose of geological knowledge popularization, the various related publications, replicas of fossils and others are also needed.