Lonar Crater, St Mary’s Island for UNESCO Global Geopark Tag

Lonar Lake in Maharashtra and St Mary’s Island and Malpe beach in the coastal Karnataka are the Geological Survey of India-GSI’s candidates for UNESCO Global Geopark Network Status.


Requirements to become Global Geopark– An aspiring Global Geopark must have 

  • a dedicated website, 
  • a corporate identity, 
  • comprehensive management plan,
  • protection plans, 
  • finance, and 
  • partnerships for it to be accepted. 

The Geopark Tag is akin to that of a “World Heritage Site” for historical monument.


Lonar Lake

It is located at Lonar in Buldhana district of Maharashtra. It is the only known meteorite crater in basaltic rock. It became a geo  heritage site in 1979. It is relatively young at just 50,000 years old and was created during Pleistocene Epoch. This lake lies in a basalt impact structure and is both saline and alkaline in nature.


St. Mary’s island 

St. Mary’s Islands is also known as Coconut Island and Thonsepar. These are a set of four small islands in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Malpe in Udipi of Karnataka.

St. Mary’s island is a unique phenomenon that has been preserved well. It was declared as a national geo heritage site in 1975, is estimated to be an 88­ million­ year ­old formation that goes back to a time when Greater India broke away from Madagascar. 


What are UNESCO Global Geoparks?

UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.

At present, there are 140 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 38 countries.

In 2004, 17 European and 8 Chinese geoparks came together at UNESCO headquarters in Paris to form the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) where national geological heritage initiatives contribute to and benefit from their membership of a global network of exchange and cooperation.


On 17 November 2015, the 195 Member States of UNESCO ratified the creation of a new label, the UNESCO Global Geoparks, during the 38th General Conference of the Organisation. This expresses governmental recognition of the importance of managing outstanding geological sites and landscapes in a holistic manner.

The Organization supports Member States’ efforts to establish UNESCO Global Geoparks all around the world, in close collaboration with the Global Geoparks Network.


Prepared by: Eshwar Sai




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