Initial Publication Date: February 16, 2018

GeoHeritage Sites and the Ethics of Collecting

Field instruction is increasingly challenged in the United States as access to field sites is being restricted by private land owners and even federal agencies. Iconic field sites are also threatened as one of a kind outcrops that represent "type sections" of geologic formations, examples of geologic processes, collecting sites for rare minerals, rocks, or fossils, areas that reveal the history of geologic thought are being degraded from sampling by many generations of geologists.

Whether under the banner of GeoHeritage, GeoDiversity, GeoTourism, there is a growing awareness among geologists that preservation of these special places is a high priority for the enjoyment and education of future generations of geoscientists. The National Academy Press has published a report on America's Geologic Heritage--Invitational Workshop sponsored by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI), the Geological Society of America (GSA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Park Service (NPS), and the Colorado Geological Survey (CGS).

Paleontologists have confronted the ethics of collecting vertebrate fossils. This topic is addressed in the Integrating Research and Education module on Paleontology Ethics, and by Jim Schmitt at the 2014 Teaching GeoEthics workshop: Jim Schmitt, Montana State University-Bozeman: Ethics and Paleontology: Dinosaur Wars (PowerPoint 6.3MB Jun11 14); Activity: Ethics and Paleontology: Dinosaur Wars

Classic Geologic Outcrops: Preservation and Future Accessibility--Marjorie Chan and Diane Kamola, GSA Today, vol 27 # 11, November 2017.

The U.S. Advisory Group is exploring topics of Geoheritage in the United States and intersections with Global Geoparks