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Episodes 2017; 40(4): 343-347

Published online December 1, 2017


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

The scientific and educational significance of geoparks as planetary analogues: the example of Lanzarote and Chinijo Islands UNESCO Global Geopark

Jesús Martínez-Frías1*, Elena Mateo Mederos2, and Rosario Lunar1,3

1Instituto de Geociencias, IGEO (CSIC-UCM), Facultad de Ciencias Geológicas C/ José Antonio Novais, 2, Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid 28040, Spain; *Corresponding author, E-mail: j.m.frias@igeo.ucm-csic.es
2Lanzarote and Chinijo Islands Geopark, Cabildo de Lanzarote, Avenida Fred Olsen, s/n. Arrecife, Lanzarote Islas Canarias, Spain, E-mail: medioambiente2@cabildodelanzarote.com
3Departamento de Cristalografía y Mineralogía, Facultad de Ciencias Geológicas C/ José Antonio Novais, 2, Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid 28040, Spain, E-mail: lunar@ucm.es

Correspondence to:*E-mail: j.m.frias@igeo.ucm-csic.es

Received: February 17, 2017; Revised: March 22, 2017; Accepted: March 22, 2017

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The new discoveries on other moons and planets (e.g., Mars) are largely supported and guided by the geological knowledge obtained from the study of particular analogue localities on Earth. These planetary analogues show unique geological and environmental conditions, which approximate, in specific ways, to those possibly encountered on other celestial bodies, at the present time or earlier in their geological histories. Such discoveries enrich, through a feedback process, the features of interest of such terrestrial sites, and should be incorporated as innovative scientific and geoeducational aspects of interest to the general public. Many characteristics and particulars of some geoparks can be invaluable for future studies beyond our planet. In this conceptual framework, the present article aims to provide a general overview of studies into planetary analogues carried out in the Lanzarote and Chinijo Islands UNESCO Global Geopark (Canary Archipelago, Spain) and the results obtained, proposing this as a potential model to be followed by other geoparks.