The GeoStar Challenge is an initiative within GPS 2021 to promote the understanding of past and present geological processes hidden beneath the ground by looking at their expressions reflected at the surface.
A GeoStar is a location that illustrates a set of key features in one of several geoscience categories. GeoStars may already be internationally famous, like iconic parklands, or they may be sites that are unsung but still deserve star status. In every case these GeoStars will gain fame as they play a lead role in building public awareness of some aspect of the geosciences.
The challenge is split in four categories, which will be the themes discussed in the main event:
Which site best demonstrates the potential of geothermal energy?
Which site best demonstrates breadth of potential geologic resources?
Which site best demonstrates the importance of thoughtful management of subsurface systems?
Which site best demonstrates the importance of geology for society?
The GPS 2021 organizers will bring forward one defender geosite per category. The public is invited to suggest challenger geosites by replying to the presentation tweets or on firstname.lastname@example.org
The public sends their suggestions of challengers by replying to the presentation tweets (links below) or on email@example.com
Category 1: potential of geothermal energy
Category 2: breadth of potential geologic resources
Category 3: importance of thoughtful management of subsurface systems
Category 4: importance of geology for society
Voting rounds on Twitter to define which geosites go to the finals against the defenders in each category.
Vote in the polls below:
Meet the Defenders
This is the site that best demonstrates the potential of geothermal energy. It is where the first geothermal power plant was constructed in 1913! The geothermal energy from this area helped Italy to become the sixth-largest producer of geothermal energy in the world. The hot springs, bubbling lagoons, geysers and fumaroles spread in the area and all-around Tuscany are also a famous touristic destination.
Atacama Desert, Chile
This is the site that best demonstrates breadth of potential geologic resources. Its thick salt deposits are a source of many materials, including rock salt, boron, nitrate and potassium. Also, over 30% of the world's lithium, metal extensively used in batteries, is produced there today. These deposits result from the interaction between shallow groundwater systems and the surrounding deeper volcanic systems, which also act as heat source – all in the same region!
Source of the image: https://www.usgs.gov/media/before-after/lithium-mining-salar-de-atacama-chile
This is the site that best demonstrates the importance of thoughtful management of subsurface systems. Its natural hot water sources originating from an underground karstic water system were already being used by the Romans over 2000 years ago! The famous baths still attract tourists from all over the world today.
Source of the image: https://geoera.eu/blog/geomanifestation-or-spa-city-both/
Mesa Verde, Colorado – USA
As both UNESCO World Heritage Site and US National Park, this is the site that best demonstrates the importance of geology for society. Although placed in an arid landscape, people were drawn to this locality due to springs, seeps, and natural rainwater collection pools. Mesa Verde has been called home by Ancestral Pueblo and other peoples as far back as 7500 BC! We can see over 650 cliff dwellings in the National Park, a spectacular reminder of ancient cultures.
Source of the image: https://www.nps.gov/meve/index.htm
Follow the Challenge on Twitter