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Canadian Sites Named to New World List of Geological Heritage Sites

In Yoho National Park, the Burgess Shale fossils are perhaps the best-known early example of complex life on Earth/Shannon Martin for Parks Canada

Two sites administered by Parks Canada have been named to an international list of the top 100 geological heritage sites. This new international designation rewards emblematic places around the world, recognized for their relevance and their impact on the understanding of the Earth and its history.

Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador has earned a spot for being one of the world’s best exhibits of the Moho – the boundary between crust and mantle rocks, preserved on the surface of the Earth in a spectacular glacial landscape. It was first inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1987.

Part of Yoho National Park in British Columbia, Burgess Shale is on the list of the most important fossil areas in the world, with a diverse and abundant marine community dominated by soft-bodied organisms. It was originally listed as a World Heritage Site in 1980 and became part of the Canadian Rockies Parks World Heritage Site in 1984.

“These incredible places are sources of ongoing scientific research and discovery, and also contribute significantly to local economies as unique and unprecedented tourist destinations,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and minister responsible for Parks Canada, in a press release. Release. “Internationally, these places represent the geographic heritage of all humanity and the planet we call home.

The Burgess Shale site in Yoho National Park.

The Burgess Shale site in Yoho/Shannon Martin National Park for Parks Canada

The list of Geological Heritage Sites is an initiative of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The announcement was made during the UISG 60th anniversary celebration held recently in Zumaia, UNESCO Global Geopark of the Basque Coast (Spain).

The top 100 UISG Geological Heritage Sites were selected from 181 nominations from 56 countries and include different types of sites and geological interest. The list includes 34 sites in the Americas, 28 in Europe, 15 in Africa and 23 in Asia-Pacific/Middle East. Other sites are expected in the future.

Four other Canadian sites have been named to the list but are not administered by Parks Canada. They include Mistaken Point (Newfoundland and Labrador), Joggins Fossil Cliffs (Nova Scotia), the Eo-Archean Nuvvuagittuk Greenstone Belt (Quebec), and Dinosaur Provincial Park (Alberta).

Parks Canada is the Canadian government’s representative for the UNESCO World Heritage Convention. Twelve of Canada’s 20 World Heritage Sites include areas administered by Parks Canada.