The so-called Heritage Stones (or Geoheritage Stones) designate varieties that have played an important role for mankind over centuries

The Makrana Marble is known as the stone of the Taj Mahal. Photo: Jakub Hałun / Wikimedia Commons

The title is awarded by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) / Other new categories are Geological Heritage Sites and GeoCollections

Update: The list of – in the future – “Heritage Stones“ is now available on the web page of the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS)

Heritage Stones (or Geoheritage Stones) is the new title for those natural stones that have played and continue to play a special role in human culture. The award can be given, for example, to varieties that were important for architecture or sculpture, and to those that were much used in everyday life, such as millstones, whetstones, in paving, and so on.

But always such a stone must have gained importance beyond the borders of its native country.

The title is awarded by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) after countries have applied for their stones to be included in the register and submitted a fact-filled application.

Currently, the list includes 32 stones ranging from Carrara Marble to Makrana Marble – better known as the stone of the Taj Mahal – to Tennessee “Marble.” Ten of them were included only in 2022, among them the Teozantla Tuff (Mexico), Alwar Quartzite (India) or Connemara Marble (Ireland).

In total, the selected varieties come from 17 countries.

Formerly the stones in the register were titled Global Heritage Stone Resource (GHSR). There were detailed descriptions for each variety. This information will also be available in the future, as Asier Hilario, chair of the IUGS, told us on request.

So far, the webpage only gives the names of the varieties.

Cover of the Geoheritage Sites publication.

The IUGS has also created a new section, the Geological Heritage Sites (or Geoheritage Sites). This list, currently with 100 entries and detailed descriptions, names sites that play a special role in geology. Examples are geoparks, where interested laymen can find vivid examples of the forces of nature and the results thereof.

The list can be downloaded as a pdf.

This year there is another novelty: it is the GeoCollections section. It is supposed to be a database with information about those rocks “that are important for understanding Earth and the extraterrestrial bodies.“ The knowledge of existing databases at the highest scientific level is thus to be made more accessible. “GeoCollections educate and inspire the public, preserve the planetary record for future generations, while also enabling research,
“ states the webpage.

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(24.02.2023, USA: 02.24.2023)