The exploration of Earth does not end at the borders of one country. In a sense, for the geo-traveler – everything could be considered a geodestination, including our national parks! After all geological features have no boundaries. The same processes that shaped Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon or the Elias-St. Wrangle glacial valleys are taking place across the globe. To my knowledge there are no geologic processes that are unique to the Northern or Southern hemisphere, eastern or western locales when it comes to rocks.
There is however, an anthropological element. The building of human made structures began thousands of years ago. Civilization followed the spread of humans, and were constantly changing and adopting to the elements. The impact on architecture was further defined by what technical expertise they had or invented, shaped by the climate, geography as well as being influenced by cultural practices. From the oldest to the newest, one can observe almost a time-lapse documentation of human influenced development. That is what makes geo-destination fundamentally different. Whilst there are some human structures in our National parks, the influence of humankind, the experience of what we term historical civilizations, from the Phoenicians to the Greek, Rome and subsequent cultures radiated from the birthplace of humans. All of this shaped the essence of the towns, cities and countries we visit today.
Humans did at some point reach all corners of the globe. But the more remote a place, the rawer the nature that can be observed. Some geodestinations still have that wilderness element, mostly untouched by humans. Wildlife still abounds. Sweeping vistas with little if any manmade structures surround you. Some having been reclaimed back from our intrusion, as sand dunes drift into abandoned homes or huts rapidly decay back into the earth.
The Anthropocene, the newest geological epoch speaks to the human impact on the land. Millions of tons of concrete have slowly been built up around our cities as have our attempts to control nature through dwellings, dikes, dams and dredging. Furthermore, what we see today appears to be influenced by the same tenets of evolution we apply to organic life. Over time, only the fittest buildings and structures survive. Over the centuries these older civilizations and nature have eliminated the ineffective, the weaker architectural designs, and what is left in place are the strong, often beautiful old town buildings. The cumulative effect creating what we perceive the way it had always been rather than a random series of events. In some cases, there is planning, sometimes after the destruction of a previous culture. Where there were geographically ideal sites, the succeeding authority has rebuilt, guided by their social beliefs and what was important to them. Planned cities built on top of older towns created Roman Carthage and modern Minsk. Sometimes as towns grow from government guidelines, sometimes as unbending edicts.
It has not all been small incremental change. The Anthropocene has created megalithic edifices in our attempt to modify the environment for our purposes. Massive in human scale, engineering feats such as the Panama Canal, cut across the land bridge between North and South America. Coliseums, cathedrals and temples too big to be torn down exist as a testament to the oldest civilizations. But the smaller shelters, the tenant housing, the servant and slave quarters have been reabsorbed leaving only the strongest structures to survive and an impression that it was all planned that way in the first place.
With this in mind – geodestinations focuses on the natural beauty and incorporates our culture heritage as we observe it today. These are some of the landscapes at the further reaches of human influence outside of the United States National Parks system or that have been shaped by the Anthropological history of humans.