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Cayon Somoto

The first UNESCO global geopark in Central America was established thanks to Czech geologists

July 13, 2020

The canyon of the Coco River, discovered in Nicaragua in 2004 by Czech Geological Survey specialists as part of the Czech Republic‘s foreign development assistance project, historically became the first UNESCO global geopark in Central America.

Geologists worked in the area for several years, studying mainly natural hazards. In addition to routine geological mapping, they evaluated volcanic activity, examined and identified sites prone to landslides and mudslides, devastating floods and rock falls.

The canyon, recently renamed Somoto, was excavated by the Coco River in volcanic rock  ignimbrite. It was declared a natural monument by the Government of Nicaragua in 2006 and its worldwide significance was confirmed at the 209th session of the UNESCO Executive Board in Paris on 29 June - 10 July 2020, when the Río Coco Geopark was approved as a UNESCO global geopark. The Ministry of the Environment and the Czech Geological Survey played a significant role in the establishment of the geopark.

"I am proud of our team of geologists, who for many years of research led by RNDr. Petr Hradecký contributed significantly to the establishment of the first UNESCO global geopark in Central America - the Río Coco Geopark - by producing geological material for the nomination process and by interpreting local geosites," said Zdeněk Venera, Director of the Czech Geological Survey.

The purpose of establishing the geopark is to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the region, as well as the social life of local communities and to support geotourism.

Author: Klára Froňková

Attached files

Discovery of the Somoto Canyon in Nicaragua - a chapter from the book (Czech only)

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