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Anna V. Mikhailenko, Olesya V. Nazarenko, Dmitry A. Ruban and Pavel P. Zayats

Abstract

The current growth in geotourism requires an urgent development of classifications of geological features on the basis of criteria that are relevant to tourist perceptions. It appears that structure-related patterns are especially attractive for geotourists. Consideration of the main criteria by which tourists judge beauty and observations made in the geodiversity hotspot of the Western Caucasus allow us to propose a tentative aesthetics-based classification of geological structures in outcrops, with two classes and four subclasses. It is possible to distinguish between regular and quasi-regular patterns (i.e., striped and lined and contorted patterns) and irregular and complex patterns (paysage and sculptured patterns). Typical examples of each case are found both in the study area and on a global scale. The application of the proposed classification permits to emphasise features of interest to a broad range of tourists. Aesthetics-based (i.e., non-geological) classifications are necessary to take into account visions and attitudes of visitors.

Open access

Katrin A. Lubova, Pavel P. Zayats, Dmitry A. Ruban and Günter Tiess

Abstract

Megaclasts are sedimentary particles larger than boulders. Their huge size and scattered occurrence make them objects that deserve geological heritage, requiring conservation. Investigation of megaclasts for the purpose faces difficulties because of the distinction between boulders and megaclasts. Local study of Quaternary large stones in Mountainous Adygeja (W Caucasus, SW Russia) suggests ~ 2 m as a suitable size criterion, although only locally. Shape, occurrence, and origin of megaclasts require additional attention.

Geoconservation may result in anthropogenic disturbances of the natural landscape through removal of vegetation, access constructions, and restoration. The geotourism potential of megaclasts is partly determined by their huge size and their rare and scattered occurrence. Aesthetic qualities, local legends, and co-occurrence with prehistoric megalithic constructions increase this potential. The Maiden’s Stone in Mountainous Adygeja, which is ~ 35 m long, has been a tourist attraction already for decades. It is an impressive example of geoconconservation and geotourism connected with megaclasts. Generally, megaclasts increase the value (including the scientific importance) of the geological heritage of Mountainous Adygeja, where a geopark might be established.

Open access

Oksana S. Dzyuba, Anna A. Goryacheva, Dmitry A. Ruban, Victoria V. Gnezdilova and Pavel P. Zayats

Abstract

Palaeontological data on the Caucasus are highly important for large-scale stratigraphical and palaeobiogeographical assessment of the northern Tethyan margin, but this information is often scarce and not available in English. Field studies in the Northern Caucasus have now permitted to amass some new data. Two belemnite species are described from the stratotype section of the Kamennomostskaja Formation (Callovian, Middle Jurassic) near the town of Kamennomostskij in Adygeja (Northern Caucasus). These are Belemnopsis subhastata (von Zieten, 1831) and Rhopaloteuthis ominosa Gustomesov, 1968. The latter is a rare species, and the present find allows new insights into its taxonomy. A palyno-logical analysis of the belemnite-bearing sample was carried out, and a diverse assemblage of dinocysts, acritarchs and prasinophytes, plus pollen and spores recognised. The most abundant palynomorphs are Micrhystridium and Classopollis. Data on belemnites coupled with those on palynomorphs indicate the early Callovian age of the sample level. This interpretation differs slightly from previous conclusions based on ammonites and dinocysts. If this age is correct, the degree of condensation of Callovian deposits in the section studied was lesser than previously assumed.