Geodiversity is the variety of earth materials, forms and processes that constitute and shape the Earth, either the whole or a specific part of it. Relevant materials include mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s, rocks
Rock (geology)
In geology, rock or stone is a naturally occurring solid aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids.The Earth's outer solid layer, the lithosphere, is made of rock. In general rocks are of three types, namely, igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic...

, sediment
Sediment is naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently transported by the action of fluids such as wind, water, or ice, and/or by the force of gravity acting on the particle itself....

s, fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

s, soil
Soil is a natural body consisting of layers of mineral constituents of variable thicknesses, which differ from the parent materials in their morphological, physical, chemical, and mineralogical characteristics...

s and water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

. Forms may comprise folds
Fold (geology)
The term fold is used in geology when one or a stack of originally flat and planar surfaces, such as sedimentary strata, are bent or curved as a result of permanent deformation. Synsedimentary folds are those due to slumping of sedimentary material before it is lithified. Folds in rocks vary in...

, faults, landform
A landform or physical feature in the earth sciences and geology sub-fields, comprises a geomorphological unit, and is largely defined by its surface form and location in the landscape, as part of the terrain, and as such, is typically an element of topography...

s and other expressions of morphology or relations between units of earth material. Any natural process that continues to act upon, maintain or modify either material or form (for example tectonics
Tectonics is a field of study within geology concerned generally with the structures within the lithosphere of the Earth and particularly with the forces and movements that have operated in a region to create these structures.Tectonics is concerned with the orogenies and tectonic development of...

, sediment transport
Sediment transport
Sediment transport is the movement of solid particles , typically due to a combination of the force of gravity acting on the sediment, and/or the movement of the fluid in which the sediment is entrained...

, pedogenesis
Pedogenesis is the science and study of the processes that lead to the formation of soil ' and first explored by the Russian geologist Vasily Dokuchaev , the so called grandfather of soil science, who determined that soil formed over time as a consequence of...

) represents another aspect of geodiversity. However geodiversity is not normally defined to include the likes of landscaping, concrete or other significant human influence.


The term “geodiversity” is a contraction of “geological diversity” and although principally concerned with the abiotic is etymologically comparable to biodiversity. It finds similar usage in defining the scope of aspects of nature conservation and is one of a trio of related neologisms: “geodiversity” refers to the basic quality to be conserved, “geoconservation” represents the endeavour or activity of trying to conserve it and “geoheritage” is applied to specific examples that have been identified as warranting conservation management.

Geodiversity is neither homogeneously distributed nor studied across the planet. The identification of geodiversity hotspots (eg. the islands of Great Britain and Tasmania
Geology of Tasmania
Tasmania has a complex geological history, with the world's biggest exposure of diabase, or dolerite. The rock record contains representatives of each period of the Neoproterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cainozoic eras. It is one of the few southern hemisphere areas glaciated during the...

) may be indicative not simply of the distribution of geodiversity but also of the status of geoconservation initiatives. In this regard it is worth noting that the biodiversity of an ecosystem stems at least in part from its underlying geology. With the majority of biological species remaining undescribed the classification and quantification of geodiversity is not an abstract exercise in geotaxonomy but a necessary part of mature nature conservation efforts, which also requires a geoethical approach..
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