Québec's geological heritage: geosites
Direction de géologie Québec
What is a geosite?
A geosite is a site or an “area”, a
few square metres to several square kilometres in size, with geological
and scientific significance, whose geological characteristics (mineral,
structural, geomorphological, physiographic) meet one or several
criteria for classifying it as outstanding (valuable, rare, vulnerable,
When a special zone includes more than one particularly
rare or beautiful and geologically significant feature, it is referred
to as a “geopark”. The features must be representative
of the region's geological history as well as of the events and
processes that shaped it.
Under Québec's geological heritage strategy,
a site must have exceptional value nationally, but not necessarily
There are many criteria for classifying sites as
outstanding. Only a single criterion may be required for a geological
site to be declared worthy of being considered part of our heritage.
A combination of criteria is usually considered. Here is list of
selection criteria for geosites:
- scientific value,
- geotourism appeal,
- educational value,
- historic value,
- cultural, spiritual, and social value,
- economic value,
- international significance,
- link to biodiversity,
- sanctuary for rare or endangered species,
- aesthetic value,
- being representative (universal value),
- stratigraphic milestone,
- rare or unique (irreplaceable),
- quality or state of preservation,
Eusthenopteron, Miguasha, Gaspe Peninsula
The goals of the geosite strategy must always be
kept in mind.
- improving knowledge about the evolution of environments, life,
and therefore our own evolution;
- being accessible to everyone, so that no one can take possession
of geosites for their own use;
- contributing to local, national, or all of humanity’s
- having aesthetic value.
Ten types of sites have so far been defined as
being possible Québec geological heritage geosites or geoparks:
- caves and grottos,
- fossil-bearing sites (ex. : Miguasha),
- mineralogical sites (ex.: Mont
- lithological sites (ex.: the Mingan
- historic mining sites (ex. : Bourlamaque),
- outstanding geological landscapes (ex.: Percé),
- geosystems (ex.: the Torngat
- geological environments supporting ecosystems (Mont-Albert),
- meteorite impacts (ex.: Pingaluit
Collections can be added to this list.
For more details, please see the
table of definitions.