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(1) Dilemma of geoconservation of monogenetic volcanic sites under fast urbanisation and infrastructure developments.

A project by Károly Németh, Ilmars Gravis, Boglárka Németh presented during the Oxford Virtual Geoheritage Conference in May 2020


For centuries societies have utilised volcanoes for resources, causing modification of the landscape. Recently, abandoned quarry sites have become significant geosites, where the magmatic plumbing system of a monogenetic volcano may be exposed, easily accessible, and ready to be visited and utilized as a geosite for volcanology and hazard education. The UNESCO IGCP Project [# 692. Geoheritage for Geohazard Resilience] promotes sites allowing volcanic processes to be engaged with and visualised by laypeople and scientists alike. Auckland city, the largest in New Zealand, is built on an active monogenetic volcanic field. Fourteen scoria cones within the Auckland City metropolitan boundaries are managed by the Tūpuna Maunga o Tāmaki Makaurau Authority. This is a co-management framework between Auckland Council and indigenous groups with cultural ties to the scoria cones. While we acknowledge cultural and historical importance of these sites as significant population centres prior to European settlement, potential of these sites for engagement in a geological context is not made explicit. In comparison to other sites in wider Auckland, outcrops are limited. The level of protection for cultural and archaeological sites through the Maunga Authority, in addition to aspirations for these sites to be designated as a World Heritage site, means this is unlikely to change, and we do not argue otherwise. In south Auckland, rapid urbanisation and industrialisation since the mid-20th Century has seen no protection afforded to sites as culturally significant and once as spectacular as those within Auckland City. Demand for extractable scoria has led to physical degradation of cones, and in some cases destruction. Lack of meaningful geoconservation policies sees this continue into the present. Outcrops exposed by quarrying, showing the internal structure of a scoria cone, are located at an industrial park in Wiri, South Auckland. We document threats facing these geosites monitored through several visits over five years. In Hungary, though the Bakony-Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark manages some abandoned quarries, locations outside of the geopark are not afforded the same. We highlight this at a 100-year-old abandoned basalt quarry that may be brought back into production, placing pressure on local communities who value its geoheritage. These two sites demonstrate the need to develop ethical guidance on geoconservation of significant sites in an industrial and urban context.

Scientific Library

Published in 2017

The Role of Cultural and Indigenous Values in Geosite Evaluations on a Quaternary Monogenetic Volcanic Landscape at Ihumātao, Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand

Published in 2020

The Case for Community-Led Geoheritage and Geoconservation Ventures in Māngere, South Auckland, and Central Otago, New Zealand