Geodiversity

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Geodiversity is the variety, recognizable in nature (“diversity”), of geological features (rocks, minerals, fossils…), of geomorphological environments (and related forms and processes) and of soil characteristics. It not only includes individual phenomena, but also their combinations, their relationships, the properties that characterize them, their interpretations and the systems in which they are organized.

Geodiversity is an important factor that interacts with the biodiversity and conditions it, by determining the diversity in Nature.

 

GEOLOGICAL MAP OF PIEMONTE RUBIK’S CUBE DEVELOPED GEOTHEMATICS AREAS ON RUBIK’S CUBE
Geodiversity at a regional scale (in this case: the Piemonte Region) can be represented on a geological map with a series of different colored areas that identify geological units/complex from its surroundings by their lithological, structural, geomorphological, etc. characteristics.

Geologists use colors to highlight geological units, rocks and environments. For example, there is a codified series of colors that worldwide identifies the rocks of the same age.

The Rubik’s Cube developed on the flat surface, by analogy, can be considered a symbol of the Piemonte regional geodiversity.

In this way, each color represents the specific witness of a given geological environment; it can be recognized in various locations, but it is characteristic of a given territory which becomes the area-type. Some examples: the depths of the Earth witnessed by the mantle rocks outcropping at the front range of the Western Alps; or the sedimentary rocks and the marine fossils associations that characterize the hills of Asti; or even the fluvial landforms articulating the Po river plain.

As in the Rubik’s Cube, a series of selection and re-assembly operations over the geological and regional components of the geodiversity allow us to identify and “play” with the area-types (“geothematic areas“).

The best evidences of certain environments and geological processes can be seen not only as research case-studies, but also as objects for popular science. Geothematic areas are privileged zones of the Piemonte Region for interpreting the geologic significance, the distribution in the past and the evolutionary history of rocks, fossils, landforms and environments.