Northern Vietnam highlands named UNESCO 'Geopark'

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The Dong Van Stone Highlands in the northern province of Ha Giang have been recognized as a member of UNESCO-supported Global Geoparks Network (GNN).


The recognition was announced at biennial meeting held Sunday in Greece's Lesvos of GGN, which promotes and preserves geoparks around the world.


A geopark, according to GGN, is a nationally protected area containing a number of geological heritage sites of particular importance, rarity or aesthetic appeal.


The latest event has made Dong Van become the first geopark in Vietnam and the second in the Southeast Asia to be named GGN member, Tuoi Tre reported.


Since the organization was established in 1998, it has admitted 58 geoparks from 18 countries.


Covering 574.35 square kilometers, Dong Van is home to a wide variety of geological wonders, according to Vu Cao Minh, former deputy chief of Vietnam's Institute of Geology.


Fossils of nearly 1,000 species, including ancient fish, have been found across the highlands, he said, adding that its varied topography soars in places to heights of 700 meters high.


The highlands' appeal also comes from the fact that nearly 20 ethnic minority people with different customs are living there, Minh said.

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