China Geoparks in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang given world-class heritage status for ‘great diversity of geology’

Arxan and Keketuohai were named Global Geoparks by the UN heritage body Unesco

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 May, 2017, 11:22pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 May, 2017, 12:43am

Two sites in China’s Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang are among eight areas around the globe to have been given world-class heritage status for their “great diversity of geology” by the United Nations.

Arxan, the mid-low mountain region of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, and Keketuohai in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have been added to the UN heritage body Unesco’s list of 127 Global Geoparks.

Arxan and Keketuohai also become the 34th and 35th such sites in China.

More than 2.5 million years old and consisting of 35 well-exposed volcanoes, the Arxan mountains are described as an “exceptionally dense concentration of volcanic landforms, with a rich variety of lakes and natural springs”.

The Keketouhai Geopark in Xinjiang, which is sometimes referred to as China’s Yosemite, made the list for its granite landforms. The region has a rich Kazak history and culture and features unique Botamaoyin rock paintings, which are at least 3,000 years old, according to Unesco.

The other sites joining the list of Unesco Global Geoparks included Causses du Quercy in France, Cheongsong in South Korea, Mexico’s Comarca Minera and Mixteca Alta, Las Loras in Spain and Qeshm Island in Iran.

Unesco Global Geoparks are territories that promote geodiversity through community-led initiatives to enhance regional sustainable development. The naming of Global Geoparks is said to help promote awareness of climate change and natural disasters.