Gallery: 9 new geoparks endorsed by UNESCO
Excuse us while we gush over the mineral marvels pictured above, taken at the nine geologically important sites that have been added to the Global Network of National Geoparks over the weekend.
The Global Network of National Geoparks is a UNESCO-backed list set up in 2004 to promote better management of the world's geological heritage. With the new additions, the network now has 87 sites from 27 countries.
To qualify as a geopark, not only does a site have to be geologically rare and scientifically important, it also has to be managed with a plan for sustainable development, the United Nations stated. Bonus points are given if the area benefits from healthy ecotourism.
The sites that were inscribed this year range from a glacier-covered volcano in Iceland to a Spanish park that contains some of the Earth's oldest rock. Other new members hail from China, France, Ireland, Italy and Japan.
Find out more about each site in the photo gallery above.
More on CNNGo: Gallery: UNESCO adds 12 sites to its World Heritage List
The nine sites were selected out of 16 applications at the three-day European Geoparks Conference in Norway on September 18.