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:: Volume 23, Issue 81 (3-2023) ::
جغرافیایی 2023, 23(81): 141-164 Back to browse issues page
Geomythosites as geological heritage and their importance in tourism development: A case study of Kerman Province
Mahdyeh Ghaderi1
1- Razi University
Abstract:   (1114 Views)
 Introduction
Geomythosite is a place with amazing and unique geological and geomorphological features. They are the settlement and the turning point of the cultural-historical values and identity of local and regional people. The formation of these places is often attributed to supernatural forces, but they, indeed, represent a part of the social values of the past. Accordingly, the history, culture, social relations, folklore, and even the characteristics of the paleoenvironment can be perceived by these sites. They are important not only geologically but also culturally, socially, historically and paleoenvironmently. In recent years, they have been considered as the geological heritage of the world. Each characteristic of a geomythosite can play an important role in attracting tourists and developing the tourism of geomythological sites. The aim of this study is to investigate the geomythosites of Kerman Province in the south east of Iran by a descriptive-analytical method. The province is considered rich in geomythosites.
Materials and methods
This research was conducted through a descriptive-analytical method and field visits. At first, the most important geo-legendary places of Kerman were selected based on the background knowledge of the region and the study of the available library sources. Then, 1:250000 and 1:50000 topographic maps, geological maps (1:250000 and 1:100000), Google Earth images, and field studies were used to analyze the lithology, geological  structure as well as the topographical and paleo-biological features of the legendary sites in the province. The geological and geomorphological formation of these sites was, thus, presented based on geological, geomorphological and paleogeographic analyses.

Results and discussion
To do this research, the most important geomythosites in Kerman Province were selected and analyzed. The sites included the mythical city of Lout, fairy chimneys, Meymand rocky settlements, Shiwashgan Mountains, Markesheh Mountains, and Ayoub Cave. First, the myth or myths related to each of them were discussed. Then, they were analized geologically and geomorphologically. For example, according to the local people's narratives, a part of the ruined yardangs of the Lut Playa, which looks like a ruined city from a distance, is the remnant of the ancient city of Lut destroyed due to a curse. However, from the viewpoints of geology and geomorphology, yardangs are huge natural structures made of stone, soil and clay, which were created by the hydro-wind erosion of clay, silty and sometimes marl sediments in the Great Lut Lake. Their formation occurred during the Holocene and probably after the last expansion of Quaternary glaciers about 11 thousand years ago, which was along with the increase of temperature. In a part of the Lut Desert, there are also fine-grained clay columns located on the level of the plains. From afar, these columns look like tall and thin minarets, and the local people call them fairy chimneys. According to the myths in the region, these columns are the chimneys of the ovens in underground houses. Such minaret-shaped columns are, indeed, the remains of a large plain of fine-grained clay. A major part of the columns has been destroyed, but their upper layer has been resistant for various reasons, preventing the erosion of the thick sedimentary layers below. Marksheh Mountains are a range of mountain located in the north of the city of Raver. As the local people say, in the old days, a huge dragon lived in the city and used the farms there. The people of the city sent a huge and strong bull to fight the dragon. After a while, the bull and the dragon got into a fight, but the dragon suddenly bit the bull and injected poison into its body. After a few days, both animals died. Thus, the dragon remained there and turned into stone. From a distance, the mountains look like a big snake. This is the legend proposed for the formation of the mountains. From a geological point of view, however, these mountains are made of red sandstone, shale, and gypsum marl with interlayers of late Jurassic and early Cretaceous conglomerates (i.e., a Bido formation) lying on Jurassic salts. The Bido Formation is also covered by Cretaceous limestones. The salts placed under the red formation of Bido rose up in the form of a diapir and cut through the upper formation and the sequence of its layers. The sequence of the red layers with salt deposits at the bottom and limestone at the top has been severely folded.
Conclusion
The mythical sites of the earth, as geological heritage, are the manifestation of the relationship between man and his natural habitat. They have been there since the far past, but humans have considered them as their semantic and social foundations. In other words, man has resorted to these natural phenomena and features in order to find the meaning of life and made them a settlement for his immortality and salvation. From this point of view, he has categorized significant geological phenomena into demonic and divine and created myths for each of them. Divine phenomena are those that have been the shelter and protection of man against the events and disasters, like mountains and caves. Demonic phenomena and features, however, have been dangerous and eventful places for human habitation, such as deserts, sea coasts and river banks. Therefore, sacred sites and demonic sites have been associated with attractive myths that justify them. This makes one believe that there is a close relationship between geomythosites and human myths, which can be analyzed historically, sociologically, anthropologically, archeologically and geologically. In addition, the processes occurring in these sites help to understand the huge hazards in the past such as floods, earthquakes and volcanoes.  In short, geomythosites are considered as places with unique, attractive and special geological and geomorphological features on the one hand, and as historical, social and archeological sites on the other hand, which can play a very important role in sustainable tourism.
Keywords: Geomythosite, Geomythology, Geoheritage, Kerman, Tourism
Full-Text [PDF 2023 kb]   (293 Downloads)    
Type of Study: Research | Subject: Special
Received: 2022/04/9 | Accepted: 2022/08/21 | Published: 2023/06/16
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Ghaderi M. Geomythosites as geological heritage and their importance in tourism development: A case study of Kerman Province. جغرافیایی 2023; 23 (81) :141-164
URL: http://geographical-space.iau-ahar.ac.ir/article-1-3979-en.html


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