Lyons welcomes announcement making Giant’s Causeway one of the world’s top 100 geology sites

Date published: 25 October 2022

The Giant’s Causeway has been selected as one of the world’s most important geology sites by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS)

Giant’s Causeway selected as one of the world’s most important geology sites.
Giant’s Causeway selected as one of the world’s most important geology sites.

The Giant’s Causeway was selected primarily for its role in the development of geology as a science, representing a key site in proving the origin of volcanic rocks during the 18th century. It was nominated jointly by the Department for the Economy’s Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Trinity College Dublin due to its importance.

Welcoming the announcement Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said:

“I am delighted that the International Union of Geological Sciences, an organisation representing over one million geoscientists globally has selected Giant’s Causeway as one of the world’s top 100 Global Geosites.

“The Giant’s Causeway already plays a major role in attracting visitors to Northern Ireland and this announcement can only help increase the level of attraction.”

“Tourism was one of the sectors most severely impacted by the restrictions imposed by the covid pandemic. However it has also shown itself to be one of the most resilient.

“The sector is a key element of our desire to develop Northern Ireland as one of the small elite economies of the world. My officials, working closely with Tourism NI, will be engaging over the coming months with key stakeholders on developing a Northern Ireland Tourism Strategy to promote and develop tourism. The new Strategy will have a global focus and cover the period up to 2030, setting out the principles, vision and key aims necessary to drive growth in this important sector.”

The 100 selected sites have been chosen due to their scientific value. Many have helped to develop the science of geology, whilst others are the world’s best examples of geological features and processes. The selections have been made from right across the world and include other well-known sites such as the Grand Canyon (USA), Sugar Loaf Mountain (Brazil) and Mount Everest (Nepal).

The identification of the top 100 sites was part of a project that involved more than 200 specialists from almost 40 nations and ten international organisations. In total, four sites have been selected from across the UK. There were 181 sites nominated from 56 countries, and were evaluated by a panel of 33 international experts, including a representative from the Department for the Economy’s Geological Survey of Northern Ireland.

Notes to editors: 

1. The GSNI is part of the Department for the Economy (DfE) Northern Ireland. It is staffed by scientists of the British Geological Survey (BGS) under contract to DfE, which allows GSNI to call upon expertise from other parts of the BGS. As the regional source of geological information, GSNI advises industry, local government and the public on a range of geological matters, and provides geoscience information and services to inform decision-making.

2. The IUGS represents over 1 million geoscientists, and 121 nations and is one of the world’s largest scientific organisations. IUGS aims to promote the development of the Earth sciences through the support of broad-based scientific studies relevant to the entire Earth system; to apply the results of these and other studies to preserving Earth’s natural environment, using natural resources wisely and improving the prosperity of nations and the quality of human life; and to strengthen public awareness of geology and advance geological education in the widest sense.

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5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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