“Maar craters were formed when groundwater came into contact with lava and exploded”

©Leiqiong UNESCO Global Geopark, China

Celebrating Earth Heritage

Leiqiong UNESCO Global Geopark is located at the southern margin of the Chinese mainland, straddling the Qiongzhou Strait. The geology is characterized by the Leiqiong Rift Volcanic Belt and holds records of the origin of the Leiqiong Rift and the spreading of the South China Sea Basin.

There are 75 geoheritage sites in Leiqiong UNESCO Global Geopark, mostly volcanic. About 38 protected volcanoes are distributed across the Geopark, including examples of nearly all types formed by basaltic and phreatomagmatic explosions. Judging from the number, variety and completeness of the volcanoes, the UNESCO Global Geopark is considered among the top of the Quaternary volcanic belts in China. It is a natural monument of Quaternary basaltic volcanology. Two districts of Leiqiong UNESCO Global Geopark feature several ‘maar’ craters – broad, low-relief craters caused by an explosion when groundwater came into contact with hot lava. Some of the sea cliffs were also developed by the maar type volcano explosion. Leiqiong’s craters are great examples of this phenomena, including the Huguangyan Maar Lake where research was first conducted on maar lakes in China, which is also the basis for cooperation between Chinese and German scientists. The Geopark is extremely rich in volcanic landscapes and lava structures, such as different kinds of lava flows and tunnels, which is a natural, open-air exhibition of volcanism.

The UNESCO Global Geopark is also positioned in an ecological transition area characterized by a rich diversity of flora and fauna. Here, the volcanic landforms provide the fertilized red earth for the green tropical forests next to the blue sea and the silver beach.

©Leiqiong UNESCO Global Geopark, China

Sustaining local Communities

The volcanoes are located very close to coastal cities and tropical islands. In fact, the territory of Leiqiong UNESCO Global Geopark spans Haikou City and Zhanjiang City, which are famous cultural centers. Human activities developed in harmony with the volcanoes creating a rich and distinctive culture.

It is essential to keep on refining the Leiqiong UNESCO Global Geopark’s brand influence, constantly developing Geopark resource characteristics, and improved science popularization and tourist facilities. It is also significant to strengthen development and integration among Geoparks and their communities, actively carry out and spread educational work on public geological knowledge and environmental awareness, and vigorously extend geological ecological cultural tourism. All of these measures have positive effects on the development of local economy and society.

Back to top