M. Moufti, K. Németh, H. Murcia, J. Lindsay, N. El-Masry
June 29, 2013
UNESCO promotes geoconservation through various programs intended to establish an inventory of geologically and geomorphologically significant features worldwide that can serve as an important database to understand the Earth’s global geoheritage. An ultimate goal of such projects globally is to establish geoparks that represent an integrated network of knowledge transfer opportunities, based on a specific array of geological and geomorphological sites able to graphically demonstrate how the Earth works to the general public. In these complex geoconservation and geoeducational programs, the identification of significant geological and geomorphological features is very important. These are commonly referred to as ‘geosites’ or ‘geomorphosites’, depending on whether the feature or processes the site demonstrates is more geological or geomorphological, respectively. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an extraordinary place due to its arid climate and therefore perfect exposures of rock formations. The Kingdom is also home to extensive volcanic fields, named “harrats” in Arabic, referring particularly to the black, basaltic lava fields that dominate the desert landscape. Current efforts to increase awareness of the importance of these volcanic fields in the geological landscape of Arabia culminated in the first proposal to incorporate the superbly exposed volcanic features into an integrated geoconservation and geoeducation program that will hopefully lead to the development of a geopark named, “The Harrat Al Madinah Volcanic Geopark” . Here we describe one of the extraordinary features of the proposed Harrat Al Madinah Volcanic Geopark, namely a steep lava spatter cone formed during a historical eruption in 1256 AD.