The concept of geoheritage is related to places of geological interest, generally of aesthetic, cultural, socio-economic and/ or scientific value. Many geosites are of karstic nature, because of their intrinsic beauty, their singularity and high geodi- versity. Caves are among the most visited and economically exploited geological landforms. They constitute geosites as a whole, with their scenic landscapes, hydrogeological importance and the presence of bewildering natural rock and mineral formations including stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones and many other bizarre speleothem shapes. In some cases, a single speleothem, and the palaeoclimate record it contains, can be on its own of extraordinary importance to science. Once stud- ied, these samples are often stored in research institution collections, rarely accessible to the wide public. In this paper, we report on the museumization of a stalagmite that has delivered a unique and exceptionally long glacial climate record from southern Italy, shedding light on the causes that led to the Neanderthal contraction and Modern Human expansion in this mild Mediterranean climate between 45 and 42 thousands years ago. The proposed museumization aims to demonstrate the potential of speleothems, after scientific application, in terms of educational and tourist resources. This approach allows to highlight the scientific importance of karst and cave geosites to the wide public, promoting their conservation and the valorisation of the studied cave-material.
Stalagmites: from Science Application to Museumization / Columbu, Andrea; Calabrò, Laura; Chiarini, Veronica; De Waele, Jo. - In: GEOHERITAGE. - ISSN 1867-2485. - 13:2(2021), pp. 47.1-47.11. [10.1007/s12371-021-00573-9]
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