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Quantication of geodiversity and its loss

Dmitry A. Ruban*
Division of Mineralogy and Petrography, Geology and Geography Faculty, Southern Federal University, Zorge Street 40, Rostov-na-Donu, 344090, Russian Federation
1. Introduction
Geodiversity is a new, but already well-developed concept,
which is essential to understand the geological heritage of
particular regions and the entire Earth and to coordinate its
efcient conservation (see reviews by Gray, 2004, 2008; Scott et al.,
2007). Generally, it may be dened as a broad range of geological
phenomena constituting the geological heritage. Scientists need to
understand the geological heritage to provide a baseline for their
studies, whereas the general public needs it to enlarge their
environmental knowledge, to be prepared for natural hazards, and
to have a new opportunity for outdoor recreation. While a
descriptive version of geodiversity is helpful for geoconservation,
the total range of relevant management activities require a
numerical expression of geodiversity. We need a clear approach to
evaluate where it is greater and where smaller, which regions are
rich and which are poor in it. A sustainable use of geological
resources for scientic, educational, or recreational/tourism
purposes makes necessary an understanding of geodiversity
damage, either by natural or anthropogenic causes. Despite its
urgency, the problem of quantication of geodiversity and its loss
is yet to be solved. For example, Gray (2008) species 4 kinds of
areas that may bear geodiversity hotspots (which itself is a great
achievement!), but emphasizes signicant difculties in numerical
evaluation of the geological heritage. Ruban (2007) attempted to
nd a suitable quantitative approach, but his suggestions remained
very preliminary and needed corrections.
In its broadest context, this paper aims to demonstrate that
geodiversity can indeed be quantied. A more specic aim is to
provide a framework for the quantication of geodiversity. The
proposals are based on some obvious considerations about
geological heritage sites, which provide rationales for utilizing a
numerical approach to the geoconservation practice.
2. Denition of key terms
Geoconservation theory and practice are characterized in a
comprehensive formby Prosser et al. (2006), whereas Black (1985),
Barettino et al. (1999, 2000), Wimbledon (1996, 1999), Wimbledon
et al. (1995, 1998, 1999), Ellis et al. (1996), Gray (2004, 2008),
Ruban (2005, 2006, 2009, in press), and Scott et al. (2007)
summarized some of their essentials. Geosite (=geological heritage
site, geological monument, and geological heritage object) is the
most principal term. It means geological objects or fragments of
the geological environment exposed on the land surface, and, thus,
accessible for visits and studies (cf. Ruban, 2005). In this case,
accessibility means that the object is not buried in the Earths
interior. A broad range of earth-related phenomena necessitates
the proper classication of geosites. The Earth Science Conserva-
tion Classication (see Prosser et al., 2006) species geosites to
include quarries and pits (active and inactive), coastal cliffs and
foreshore locations, river and stream sections, inland outcrops,
underground mines and tunnels, roads, railroad and canal cuttings,
Proceedings of the Geologists Association 121 (2010) 326333
Article history:
Received 22 December 2009
Received in revised form 2 July 2010
Accepted 2 July 2010
Geodiversity loss
Geological heritage site
Mountainous Adygeja
Geodiversity, i.e., a diversity of geological heritage sites, can be quantied with an account of geosite
types, type counterparts, and their ranks. Higher numbers of geosite types represented within a given
territory and their higher ranks indicate a higher geodiversity. Two additional characteristics, namely
geoabundance and georichness, allow measure of the quantity of geosites and the diversityquantity
relationship respectively. Geodiversity loss can be evaluated with an accounting of decreases in geosite
type ranks linked to the damage of geosites. A calculation of relative and multi-dimensional geodiversity
helps in quantitative assessment of the regional geological heritage.
2010 The Geologists Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
* Correspondence address: P.O. Box (a/jashik) 7333, Rostov-na-Donu 344056,
Russian Federation.
E-mail addresses:,
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0016-7878/$ see front matter 2010 The Geologists Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
static (fossil) geomorphological exposures, active geomorphologi-
cal exposures, caves, karst features, mineral, fossil or other
geological deposits, mine dumps, underground mines and tunnels,
and some others. When the above-mentioned classication can be
suitable for some managerial purposes, it does not represent the
natural variety of earth-related phenomena. There are also other
classications (e.g., Lapo et al., 1993; Wimbledon et al., 1995, 1998,
1999). On the basis of information on composition, structure, and
evolution of our planet, which can be obtained potentially from
geosites, Ruban (2005, 2009) distinguished 21 types of geosites,
namely stratigraphical, palaeontological, sedimentary, igneous,
metamorphic, mineralogical, economical, geochemical, seismical,
structural, palaeogeographical, cosmogenic, geothermal, geocryo-
logical, geomorphological, hydrological and hydrogeological,
engineering, radiogeological, neotectonical, pedological (soil),
and geohistorical. Some of these types were also recognized by
the earlier workers (e.g., Lapo et al., 1993; Wimbledon et al., 1995,
1998, 1999). However, many, if not most, of geosites are complex
and represent several kinds of information. For example, one
geosite can be stratigraphical, palaeontological. geomorphological,
and geohistorical. Thus, we need to introduce the term type
counterpart, which describes a portion of any given type among
other types of the same geosite. Depending on their importance,
geosites of different ranks can be distinguished (Lapo et al., 1993;
Wimbledon, 1999; Ruban, 2005) (Table 1). Ranks may differ for
type counterparts. In this case, one may assume that a complex
geosite has a rank corresponding to the maximum rank observed
among its type counterparts. For example, if the palaeontological
importance is just local, whereas that stratigraphical is global, the
entire geosite has a global rank.
Geosites of several types may occur on any given territory, and
the entire range of geosite types occurs on the planet. This is a
reason to tell about geodiversity. Two different denitions of this
term are proposed. Gray (2004, 2008) denes geodiversity in a
material sense, i.e., as the diversity of geological, geomorphologi-
cal, and soil features with an account of their assemblages,
relationships, properties, interpretations and systems (Gray,
2004, p. 8, 2008, p. 287; cf. Lapo, 1999; Stanley, 2000). However,
Ruban (2007) treats it just as the numerical expression of geosite
diversity. While somewhat different these two denitions are not
mutually exclusive and should both remain in use. Geodiversity
was introduced similarly to biodiversity (Gray, 2004, 2008) and as
with the latter, geodiversity may have some loss, which can be
generally dened as a reduction in the number of geosite types.
In addition to diversity, modern ecology and palaeoecology
operates with such terms as abundance and richness (different
from species richness!) (e.g., Buzas, 1979; Mosbrugger, 1992;
Thomas and Packham, 2007; Townsend et al., 2008). This is a good
reason to describe geodiversity, geoabundance, and georichness.
Accounting the common (palaeo-) ecological denitions we may
propose explanations of these new terms as follows. Geodiversity
measures the quantity of geosite types, geoabundance measures
the quantity of geosites, and georichness measures both (Fig. 1).
Three noted characteristics should be evaluated for a geological
heritage of every given territory.
3. Quantication of regional geodiversity, geoabundance, and
3.1. General considerations
3.1.1. Geodiversity
By denition, geodiversity can be quantied as a simple sum of
geosite types, i.e.,
Geodiversity1 total quantityof geosite types occurring
ona giventerritory: (1)
The Mountainous Adygeja geodiversity hotspot is located in the
WesternCaucasus (southwesternRussia) andexhibits a verydiverse
geological heritage (Fig. 2 and Table 2). Ruban (in press)
recommends this area for establishing the rst national geopark
in Russia. Principal geosites known from the Mountainous Adygeja
are complex, and their type counterparts are igneous, metamorphic,
palaeogeographical, stratigraphical, palaeontological, sedimento-
logical, geomorphological, hydrological and hydrogeological, engi-
neering, structural, and geohistorical (Table 2). Thus, Geodiversity1
of this area can be quantied as 11, which is equal to the quantity of
the above-mentioned geosite types.
One may assume that higher ranks of geosites make the entire
geological heritage more important and, thus, contribute to the
geodiversity. In order to account a difference of geosite ranks
within a given territory it is necessary to weigh up each rank with a
denite score. Linear or logarithmic scales of rank scores can be
proposed (Table 1). Logarithmic scale is more appropriate because
the importance of geosites with regional and national ranks differs
and attracts the attention of unique groups of people. Meantime,
rank scores should be chosen by specialists in geoconservation by a
deliberative procedure. We may evaluate a geodiversity with a use
of maximum rank scores:
Geodiversity2 Sumof maximumrank scores of each
particular type of geosites withina
giventerritory: (2)
Note that the rank score is evaluated for every type counterpart
at complex geosites. Maximum rank scores are preferred to
average or median rank scores, because a presence of even one
higher-ranked geosite of a particular type among many others
lower-ranked suggests a higher importance of the entire regional
geological heritage, and, therefore, a higher geodiversity.
In the case of the Mountainous Adygeja geodiversity hotspot,
the maximum rank scores are as follows (geosite(s) with the
maximum score are indicated in parentheses): igneous 0.01
(Granite Gorge), metamorphic 0.001 (Granite Gorge), palaeogeo-
graphical 0.1 (Lago-Naki Plateau, Raskol Cliff), stratigraphical 1
(Raskol Cliff), palaeontological 1 (Raskol Cliff), sedimentological
0.01 (Khamyshki Section), geomorphological 0.1 (Lago-Naki
Plateau, Granite Gorge), hydrological and hydrogeological 0.01
(Granite Gorge), engineering 0.001 (Khadzhokh Canyon, Granite
Gorge, Khamyshki Section, Rufabgo Canyon), structural 0.01
(Khadzhokh Canyon, Rufabgo Canyon, Sakhraj Canyon), and
Table 1
Geosite ranks and their scores (partly adopted from Ruban, 2005).
Rank Limits of geosite importance Suggested scores
Linear scale Logarithmic scale
Local Important for districts, counties, etc. 0.25 0.001
Regional/Provincial Important for states, provinces, regions, historical regions, etc. 0.5 0.01
National/Federal Important for countries 0.75 0.1
Global/International Important for the world community 1 1
D.A. Ruban/ Proceedings of the Geologists Association 121 (2010) 326333 327
geohistorical 0.001 (Khadzhokh Canyon) (see Table 2 for data).
The sum of these rank scores is 2.243, which is the value of
Geodiversity 2.
It is easy to imagine that a regional geodiversity can be
represented by either single-type or complex geosites. It appears
that higher quantity of the latter suggests that the regional
geodiversity is represented twice, i.e., in the entire geological
heritage and the particular geosites. Thus, the geodiversity
increases together with an increase in the quantity of complex
Total quantityof complexgeosites
Total quantityof geosites

100%: (3)

Fig. 1. Schematic explanation of differences between geodiversity, geoabundance, and georichness.

Fig. 2. Location of the geological heritage considered in this article.
D.A. Ruban/ Proceedings of the Geologists Association 121 (2010) 326333 328
In the Mountanous Adygeja geodiversity hotspot, this geodi-
versity reaches its possible peak. All geosites are complex (Table 2),
and, therefore, the Geodiversity 3 = 100%.
3.1.2. Geoabundance
In its most simplistic form, geoabundance is a simple quantity
of geosites, i.e.,
Geoabundance 1 Total quantityof geosites ona giventerritory:
In the Mountainous Adygeja geodiversity hotspot, the total
quantity of geosites is 12, which is the value of the geoabundance
(Table 2).
As in the case of geodiversity, it is sensible to account ranks of
geosites in the quantication of geoabundance. Depending on its
rank, each geosite contributes differently to the regional geoa-
bundance. This idea can be expressed as follows:
Geoabundance 2 Sumof rank scores of geosites: (5)
Note that rank score of a complex geosite is evaluated as a
maximumrank score of its type counterparts by the same reason as
we preferred maximum rank scores for the regional geodiversity
quantication (see above). Moreover, a unique or rare combination
of even lower-ranked counterparts in one complex geosite may
increase its whole rank. A typical example is the Khadzhokh
Canyon in the Mountainous Adygeja, where the rank score of the
whole geosite exceeds all maximum scores of geosite type
counterparts (Table 2). Generally, in the Mountainous Adygeja
geodiversity hotspot, the geosites have different scores (Table 2).
The sum of the latters is 2.343, which is the value of the
Geoabundance 2.
Natural beauty, accessibility, and other characteristics of
geosites also inuence on their rank (Ruban, 2006). An example
is the Stone Mountain Park (Fig. 2), which is located within the
metropolitan area of Atlanta (Georgia, USA). A huge mass of light
grey Carboniferous granite is exposed there (Higgins et al., 1988;
Size and Khairallah, 1989) to form a prominent landmark of the
inselberg type (Twidale and Vidal Romani, 2005). An exploitation
of the East Quarry during the rst half of 20 century enhanced local
geological knowledge (Herrmann, 1954). The Stone Mountain is
also famous because of the Confederate memorial carving on its
slope. In this case, it is impossible to judge the geosite with only
geological criteria. The memorial carving increases the value of the
site nationally and globally. Undoubtedly, this geosite deserves the
highest possible rank.
3.1.3. Georichness
Georichness is a complex characteristics, which involves both
geodiversity and georichness. Thus, its quantication requires a
treatment of both geosite types and quantity:
Georichness 1 Quantityof geosites; where eachtype is
representedfullyor as a counterpart: (6)
It should be noted that the quantity of geosites, where each type
is represented is higher than the total quantity of geosites on a
given territory, because complex geosites are accounted several
times for each of their type counterparts.
In the Mountainous Adygeja geodiversity hotspot all sites are
complex and include different numbers of type counterparts:
igneous 1, metamorphic 1, palaeogeographical 6, strati-
graphical 6, palaeontological 6, sedimentological 8,
geomorphological 7, hydrological and hydrogeological 6,
engineering 4, structural 5, and geohistorical 1 (see Table 2 for
data). The sum of the above-indicated values is 51, which is the
value of the Georichness 1.
Table 2
Geosites of the Mountainous Adygeja geodiversity hotspot (see Fig. 2 for location)
specied for a designation of the national geopark (after Ruban, in press). Ranks of
geosites and their counterparts are updated from the earlier studies of the author.
Geosites Geosite type (rank score
for each counterpart is
given in parentheses)
Rank score
of geosite
Lago-Naki Plateau COMPLEX; counterparts:
palaeogeographical (0.1)
sedimentological (0.001)
geomorphological (0.1)
Khadzhokh Canyon COMPLEX; counterparts:
stratigraphical (0.01)
palaeontological (0.01)
palaeogeographical (0.001)
sedimentological (0.001)
geomorphological (0.01)
hydrological and
hydrogeological (0.001)
engineering (0.001)
structural (0.01)
geohistorical (0.001)
Granite Gorge COMPLEX; counterparts:
igneous (0.001)
metamorphic (0.001)
geomorphological (0.l)
engineering (0.001)
hydrological and
hydrogeological (0.01)
Khamyshki Section COMPLEX; counterparts:
stratigraphical (0.1)
sedimentological (0.01)
palaeogeographical (0.01)
engineering (0.001)
Polkovnitskaya Valley COMPLEX; counterparts:
palaeontological (0.01)
sedimentological (0.001)
hydrological and
hydrogeological (0.001)
Rufabgo Canyon COMPLEX; counterparts:
hydrological and
hydrogeological (0.001)
structural (0.01)
stratigraphical (0.001)
geomorphological (0.001)
engineering (0.001)
Kabanja Mountain COMPLEX; counterparts:
palaeontological (0.001)
sedimentological (0.001)
geomorphological (0.001)
Sakhraj Canyon COMPLEX; counterparts:
geomorphological (0.001)
structural (0.01)
stratigraphical (0.001)
palaeogeographical (0.01)
hydrological and
hydrogeological (0.001)
Gruzinka Valley COMPLEX; counterparts:
sedimentological (0.001)
palaeogeographical (0.001)
structural (0.001)
hydrological and
hydrogeological (0.001)
Raskol Cliff COMPLEX; counterparts:
stratigraphical (1)
palaeontological (1)
palaeogeographical (0.1)
sedimentological (0.001)
geomorphological (0.001)
Sjuk Locality COMPLEX; counterparts:
palaeontological (0.001)
structural (0.001)
Moltchepa Valley COMPLEX; counterparts:
stratigraphical (0.001)
palaeontological (0.01)
sedimentological (0.001)
D.A. Ruban/ Proceedings of the Geologists Association 121 (2010) 326333 329
Inclusion of geosite ranks permits to propose this equation:
Georichness 2 Sumof the quantities of geosites of eachtype
weighedwiththe maximumrank scores of
the types: (7)
In this case, we still use maximum rank scores, because we
consider geosite types taken in the whole and irrespectively to
differences in ranks of particular geosites. With regard to the
Mountainous Adygeja geodiversity hotspot, this kind of georich-
ness is calculated as 1 0.01 + 1 0.001 + 6 0.1 + 6 1 + 6
1 + 8 0.01 + 7 0.1 + 6 0.01 + 4 0.001 + 5 0.01 + 1 -
0.001 = 13.506.
3.2. Example
A simple example illustrates an application of the above-
mentioned equations. Two territories exhibit a geological heritage,
which differs by the quantity of geosites, their types and ranks
(Fig. 3). The task is a comparison of their geodiversity, geoabun-
dance, and georichness. Results (Table 3) calculated with the use of
the proposed equations suggest that geodiversity of the territories
is generally comparable. However, the quantity of complex
geosites is signicantly larger on the territory 2, and, therefore,
the regional geodiversity is represented there in a more
condensed form, i.e., in the most of particular geosites. Despite
a higher quantity of geosites on the territory 2 (geoabundance 1), a
larger proportion of those with higher ranks on the territory 1
indicates a larger geoabundance (geoabundance 2). As for the
georichness, it is signicantly larger on the territory 2.
An evident question concerning an interpretation of results in
this example and other case studies arises: which indices of
geodiversity, geoabundance, and georichness to choose? Eqs. (1),
(4), and (6) are the simplest representations of the noted
characteristics, which do not account geosite ranks. However,
they may be used for some very general studies. The information
on ranks seems to be crucial, and, thus, whenit is available, Eqs. (2),
(5), and (7) seempreferable. Eq. (3) can be used in all cases as a very
distinct way of the geodiversity quantication. In our example,
geodiversity 2 and geoabundance 2 are higher for the territory 1
(Table 3), and, therefore, the relevant geological heritage should be
considered as more diverse and abundant there, whereas the
relatively low georichness 2 suggests an inconsistency between
the regional geodiversity and geoabundance. Results from the
geodiversity 3 analysis do explain this fact.
4. Quantication of geodiversity loss
Geosites can experience signicant damage. However, a
quantication of geodiversity loss as tricky as that of biodiversity,

Fig. 3. Example of two territories with a different geological heritage (see Section 5 and Table 3).
D.A. Ruban/ Proceedings of the Geologists Association 121 (2010) 326333 330
which also remains a matter for hot debate (e.g., Ashlin and Ladle,
2006; Brockington et al., 2008; Townsend et al., 2008). It would be
too simplistic to evaluate the geodiversity loss as
Geodiversity loss 1 1
Actual geodiversity1
Geodiversity1 before loss

100%: (8)
In this case, it is sensible to calculate geodiversity with Eq. (1).
The problemis at least two-fold. First, it is improbable to account
all geosite types, which might have existed potentially within a
given territory, because some of them might have been erased
completely without any remains. Second, destruction of some
geosites occurs together with the appearance of other geosites, and,
thus, geodiversity may appear to rise rather than decrease. To avoid
this and other similar problems, it seems better to address an
endangering (i.e., damage, but not complete loss) of the regional
geological heritage. This was already questioned by Gray (2008) by
analogy with the concept of biodiversity, which involves a
quantication of species endangering (e.g., Brockingtonet al., 2008).
Damage of geosites leads to a decrease in their importance, and,
therefore, diminishes their rank (Ruban, 2005). If so, we may
evaluate the regional geodiversity loss by a decrease in maximum
rank scores for regionally represented geosite types:
Geodiversityloss 2 1
Actual geodiversity 2
Original geodiversity

100%: (9)
In this case, we calculate the actual geodiversity with Eq. (2),
whereas we calculate the original geodiversity as follows:
Original geodiversity Sumof maximumrank scores of geosite
types before damage: (10)
It seems that when geosite is damaged, but still available, it is
not a problem to hypothesize its past importance correctly.
For example, the geosite 4 on the territory 1 (Fig. 3) experiences
a signicant extraction of the globally-unique fossil remains and,
thus, its rank dropped to that of national. If so, the original
geodiversity 2 can be calculated as 3.01, and, thus, the geodiversity
of the territory 1 was reduced by about a triple. However, lets
assume that no natural outcrop of magmatic rocks at the geosite 11
did exist before construction of the quarry, which damaged slightly
the landform. In this case, the original geodiversity 2 was 2.01. This
indicates a very little increase in geodiversity, but not a loss. Such
complicated situations should not be excluded from the analysis.
There is an additional consideration. One may hypothesize that
geodiversity loss may increase an importance of individual less-
damaged geosites. For example, if there are 4 comparable geosites
(say, exhibiting remains of fossil lizards) and 3 of them are
damaged, the rest uninuenced geosite obtains a higher rank,
because its rarity, and, thus, importance, increases. As a conse-
quence, the geodiversity value also changes. In fact, such a
situation may occur when geosites are dispersed within a large
territory. When they are grouped together on a relatively small
area, they have the higher rank initially, and, thus, damage of some
of them will not change the rank of the others.
5. Discussion
5.1. Evaluation of relative geodiversity
Quantication of geodiversity with Eqs. (1) and (2) results in
absolute numbers. These absolute values permit the conclusion
that geodiversity of one territory is greater than that of another.
But how great is any particular geodiversity score? This requires a
measurement of the relative geodiversity.
The quantity of geosite types existing in the nature is limited.
Thus, the maximum possible geodiversity of any territory is also
limited. It may be calculated as the number of all distinguished
geosites types with an assumption that every type bears the global
rank. If we recognize 21 geosite types (Ruban, 2005; see above), the
Table 3
Geodiversity, geoabundance, and georichness of territories presented on Fig. 2. See Appendix for abbreviations of the parameters. Logarithmic scale of rank scores is always
Parameters Territory 1 Territory 2
T 4 5
4 5
(stratigraphical) 1 1
(palaeontological) 0.1 1
(magmatic) 1 0.01
(sedimentary) 0.01
(geomorphological) 0.01 0.01
2.11 2.03
3 11
N 12 15
25% 73%
12 15
rn (see Fig. 3 for geosite numbers) 10.01, 20.001, 30.001, 41, 50.001,
60.001, 70.001, 80.1, 90.001, 100.1,
111, 120.001
10.1, 20.01, 30.01, 41, 50.01, 60.001,
70.001, 80.01, 90.01, 100.001, 110.001,
120.01, 130.01, 140.001, 150.1
2.217 1.275
(stratigraphical) 1 6
(palaeontological) 3 8
(igneous) 3 2
(sedimentary) 5
(geomorphological) 9 9
16 30
4.39 14.16
D.A. Ruban/ Proceedings of the Geologists Association 121 (2010) 326333 331
maximum possible geodiversity for every territory is 21. The
Mountainous Adygeja geodiversity hotspot has the Geodiversity 2
as high as 2.243. This is just $11% of the maximum possible
geodiversity. But even such a conclusion is denitely not enough to
judge about the regional geodiversity. We need knowledge on the
average geodiversity scores for territories with such a large size
and geological peculiarities. Thus, an evaluation of the relative
geodiversity requires a further classication based on multiple
measurements of geodiversity in a lot of territories.
The other possible way to evaluate relative geodiversity
considers a comparison of the measured geodiversity with
potential geodiversity. The latter could be hypothesized on the
basis of information on a diversity of phenomena, which could
appear in the region with given geological peculiarities. This
approach seems to be very probabilistic and requiring a state-of-
the-art analysis of the regional geology. Conclusions will also be
very subjective and affected by a personal understanding of the
geological heritage.
5.2. Geoconservation procedures and their importance in geodiversity
The above-mentioned quantication of geodiversity involves
an analysis of geosite types and ranks. However, the true diversity
of geosites is much larger, because types and ranks are not the only
characteristics of geosites. Ruban (2005) implied a set of
categories, with which help every geosite can be described (Table
4). Although there are possibilities to account these categories in
the equations proposed in this paper, such approach does not seem
sensible, because types and categories are incomparable char-
acteristics by denition. It would be reasonable to calculate several
separate indices, and, thus, to quantify the multi-dimensional
regional geodiversity. For example, any territory can be character-
ized by a low diversity of geosite types, but a presence of all
categories specied by spatial appearance, dynamic state, and/or
origin of geosites. In some cases, perhaps a higher diversity of
categories may even recompense a lower diversity of types.
The other problem is a denition of geosites itself. Despite
available guidelines (e.g., Wimbledon et al., 1995; Prosser et al.,
2006) different geological objects with different characteristics can
be specied as simple geosites. For instance two neighbouring
outcrops (one represents unique fossil assemblage, whereas the
other exhibits rare sedimentary structures) can be judged as either
one geosite or two geosites. When a geopark is established, it may
be treated as a series of geosites or as a single large and highly-
complex geosite. An example is the Diamond Head State
Monument (Fig. 2) established on the island of Oahu (Hawaii,
USA). This is a center of ancient hydromagmatic explosions, which
nowforms a tuff cone with a height of 232 mwith a deep and wide
crater (Macdonald et al., 1983). When one geoconservationist
would dene the Diamond Head as a particular geosite, the other
would recognize the entire island of Oahu with its highly-complex
geological edice dominated by volcanic feature as a geosite. Both
alternatives sound sensible, and to make a choice seems to be a
speculative procedure. Of course, different approaches will
inuence an evaluation of geodiversity and other quantitative
characteristics of the geological heritage. This problem can be
solved by the only standardization of geoconservation procedures
on the basis of broadly-accepted guidelines and geoconservation
codes (similar to codes used in biology and stratigraphy).
6. Conclusions
My proposals on the quantication of geodiversity and its loss
demonstrate that this approach is generally possible. Classication
of geosites with recognition of their types, ranks, and categories
allows a numerical expression of geodiversity, geoabundance, and
georichness. Relative and multi-dimensional geodiversity can also
be quantied. However, much depends on the noted classication.
It should be well-developed and broadly-accepted by specialists as
well as those rank scores and other possible supplementary
parameters used for the purposes of quantication. The only way,
therefore, is an initiation of deliberative process aimed at
standardization. Until this will be completed, an evaluation of
geodiversity should be supported by a clear explanation of what
classications and parameters have been used in each particular
Mathematical expression of the equations proposed for the
quantitative evaluation of geodiversity, geobundance, georichness,
and geodiversity loss is presented in Appendix A. Quantitative
evaluation of geodiversity and its loss is urgent for scientists to
understand the importance of geological information from the
given territories, but it is even more important for practitioners,
who are responsible for environmental decision-making. Territo-
ries with a higher geodiversity should deserve a special interest of
scientists, educators, and tourists, whereas human actions should
be minimized or prevented on territories, where a certain
geodiversity loss occurs.
The author gratefully thanks the both referees and the PGA
Editor-in-Chief J. Rose (UK) for their valuable suggestions as well as
A. Brunelle (USA) and P.D. Hughes (UK) for their important
improvements of this paper. The help with literature by D.
Barettino (Spain), A.V. Lapo (Russia), A.J. van Loon (Netherlands/
Poland), W. Riegraf (Germany), J.R. Vidal Roman (Spain), and
W.A.P. Wimbledon (UK) is highly appreciated. The authors
sincerest gratitude is expressed to his past and present colleagues
and students, who accompanied him in the eld and/or provided a
feedback. A.H. Jahren (USA) and C.P. Conrad (USA) are acknowl-
edged for the excursion to the Diamond Head and their general
hospitality at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in December 2008.
N.I. Boiko (Russia) and I.V. Mostovaya (Russia) are thanked for their
help with organizing a trip to Hawaii funded by the Southern
Federal University (Russia). A visit to the Stone Mountain Park in
January 1995 became possible in the course of the Eco-Bridge
program (Citizen Exchange Council, USA).
Appendix A
Mathematical expression of equations proposed in the paper (see
relevant notes and discussions in the text)
Geodiversity (GD)
T (A.1)
Table 4
Categories of geosites (modied after Ruban, 2005).
Classication criteria Geosite categories
Spatial appearance (geometry) Point
Dynamic state Static (objectobject)
Dynamic (objectprocess)
Origin Natural
Anthropogenic (articial)
D.A. Ruban/ Proceedings of the Geologists Association 121 (2010) 326333 332


100% (A.3)
T is a total quantity of geosite types occurring on a given territory,
is a maximum rank score of each particular type of geosites
within a given territory, 1 . . . i is a total range of types represented
regionally (i
= T), n
is a total quantity of complex geosites,
whereas N is a total quantity of geosites on a given territory.
Geoabundance (GA)
N (A.4)
N is a total quantity of geosites on a given territory, rn
is a rank
score of geosite, 1 . . . j is a total range of geosites represented
regionally (j
= N).
Georichness (GR)
n is a quantity of geosites, where each type is represented (fully or
as a counterpart), rt
is a maximum rank score of each particular
type of geosites within a given territory, 1 . . . i is a total range of
types represented regionally (i
= T).
Geodiversity loss (GL)

100% (A.8)

100% (A.9)
or rt
or rt
or rt
or (A.10)
ac is an actual geodiversity, CD
or is an original geodiversity
existed before the anthropogenic inuence (both are calculated
with Eq. (1)), GD
ac is an actual geodiversity (calculated with
Eq. (2)), GD
or is the original geodiversity, rt
or is a maximumrank
score of each particular type of geosites within a given territory
before the anthropogenic inuence.
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