We can distinguish the following typologies:
- Folded Layer
- Fracture and vein systems
- Stratigraphic layering
- Stratigraphic Boundaries-special layers-stratotypes
- Dike Systems/swarms/assemblies
- Fossil finds
- Trace fossils/footsteps/trails
Special landscape morphologies or colours:
- Cliffs & Beach Rocks
- Spheres, Spherules, Concretions
- Tree rocks/Balanced rocks
- Tessellated Pavements
- Tafoni networks
- Mud volcanoes
- Water and Steam
- Burning methane springs
- Water falls
- Colored lakes/sea
- Spherical drifting islands
Mankind interference with the landscape (category Culture)
- Special Mines (often abandoned)
- Buildings on special geological places
- Special roads/tunnels/paths
- anthropological sites (category archaeology)
- Human fossils
- Human habitat/funeral sites
These specific categories (and more will follow in the future) seem to be recurrent when wonderful sites are mentioned as being special. We try to balance them and distribute them as much as possible over the Globe.
These are the UNESCO GeoParks, which have been posted on this specifically designed layer. A few websites (such as the UNESCO Website itself) contain information regarding the location of the geoparks and various links. None of these are up to date and many contain wrong location information, all which has been corrected and considerable effort has been dedicated to this, in order to provide a correct location which resulted in the only complete map available online where these parks can be consulted.
For each geopark possibly the following has been provided:
- A link to the page on the UNESCO website
- A link to the page on the Geoparks.org website
- A link (if accessible/existing) to the specific website of the park
- A link to Wikipedia to the page dedicated to the geopark, or to the region
This group comprises the 100 heritage sites indicated by the International Commission on Geoheritage (ICG) of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) in October 2022. They are distributed worldwide and are split in 9 categories:
- History of Geosciences
- Stratigraphy and Sedimentology
- Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
- Geomorphology and Active Geological Processes
- Impact Structures and Extra-terrestrial Rocks
The locations of the sites have been cross-checked by our team, and for each site a link to the dedicated page of the IUGS is provided, and furthermore the relative page of the wonderful book (that can be downloaded for free at the ICG page) is provided. Adding this information to our map has been a considerable effort.
This layer concentrates on Archaeology, contains additionally a mix of anthropological, geological, and cultural/artistic features. The layer is an enhanced and modified version of the Marcahuasi Project which was conducted between 2012 and 2018, by Jaimy Visser.
This layer stems straightforward from the UNESCO Website and comprises all the official World Heritage sites that have been assigned by UNESCO. These are a mix of cultural, historical, architectural, geological, biological, and many other locations and features.
This layer shows the following features:
Volcanoes: This group comprises the Holocene, active volcanoes, extracted from the impressive database of the Smithsonian Institute database regarding all volcanoes on the Planet. The Pleistocene volcanoes (now extinct) and related basaltic shields are indicated in the Landscape Layer.
In this layer, specific Natural features in the Earths Landscape are compiled in the following categories:
Caves and Sinkholes: This group has been compiled from various sources and is work in progress. The most important andimpressive caves and sinkholes, which are often related, have been indicated.
Volcanoes: This group comprises the Pleistocene, non-active volcanoes from the impressive database of the Smithsonian Institute database regarding all volcanoes on the Planet.
This layer consists in a simplified plate tectonic framework of the Earth, showing the plates, and main global tectonic contacts such as subduction zones, rift axes, transpressive plate boundaries, thrust belts, passive margins, etc. All of these are named and as much as possible links to Wikipedia for further information is provided.
The features presented are an extraction of the main elements defined by the scientific community over the years that govern the plate tectonic movements on Earth. They are an extraction of the New Global Tectonic Map. References to papers and wiki pages are added where possible for more information.
Tectonic Plates – Throughout the years different models have been proposed by geoscientists to subdivide the lithosphere of the Earth into fragments that are called “Tectonic Plates”. We have depicted the well–known subdivision of Bird et al. (2002), which. does not necessarily mean that we agree with this subdivision. A New Global Tectonic Map (GMT) will be published in short time due. These Plates are of two types:
continental crust (thicker), and oceanic crust (thinner). Boundaries between the Plates – The boundaries between the plates can be of different kind and our team hasmade an effort on showing these different types of boundaries, compiled from available scientific databases: All of them are characterised by high seismic and volcanic activity. Note that in time and space these boundaries can merge into each other.
…..Divergent (Rift Zones – This is where two plates move apart. These zones are most of the times located within the oceanic areas. The rift zones are not continuous, they are segmented by single “Transform Faults”. Where these transform zones occur in wide bundles, they can become plate–bounding Transcurrent Zones. They have been mapped as single Tectonic Features.
…..Passive Margins – These are the zones of contact between the continental crust and the thinned continental or directly the oceanic crust. Most of the times they are characterized by a wide zone of faulting and often masked by thick piles of sediments. They are contained in the database as single Tectonic Elements.
…..Wadati–Benioff Zones – This is where an oceanic plate enters into the mantle dipping below another plate (continental or oceanic). They are indicated as regional zones.
…..Collisional Zones – This is where two continental plates slide along each other and override each other, most of the times generating the largest mountain chains. It is not always easy to allocate the position of
these boundaries because they are masked by wide fold and thrust belts. They develop (“freeze”) in their final stage into what is known as “Sutures”.
…..Transcurrent Zones – These are large fault zone where two plates slide along each other. These can be to plates of different nature, and the movement can along the of the one be of transpressive or transtensive mode. There are grouped together with the main collisional and suture zones.
…..Thrust Belt Fronts – These are the main fronts of the thrusts belts which are clearly marked. In some cases, they are buried below thick sediment piles and have been revealed from subsurface seismic data. In some cases, they coincide with the Wadati–Benioff Zones.
For more information on the concepts and scientific history of Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift, we refer to the dedicated Wikipedia page, most of which has mainly been edited and is maintained by one of the members of our team: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plate_tectonics