Geoheritage in a Mythical and Volcanic Terrain: an Inventory and Assessment Study for Geopark and Geotourism, Nemrut Volcano (Bitlis, Eastern Turkey)

Ertekin C., EKİNCİ Y. L., BÜYÜKSARAÇ A., Ekinci R.

GEOHERITAGE, vol.13, no.3, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12371-021-00593-5
  • Journal Name: GEOHERITAGE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Geobase
  • Keywords: Geosite, Geotourism, Geopark, Parameterization, Nemrut caldera, Eastern Anatolia, Turkey
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


Mt. Nemrut (Nemrut volcano or caldera) is a quiescent Quaternary volcano situated in Eastern Anatolia (Turkey) near the western shore of Lake Van. The onset of Nemrut volcanism comprised lava flows and the formation of peripheral silicic doming representing the pre-caldera stage. After the syn-caldera stage (caldera-forming), which entailed widespread pyroclastics, the post-caldera stage produced peralkaline-type rocks, ash eruptions, and rift activities with basalt- and rhyolite (comendite)-type lava flows; a lava lake represents the latest volcanic activity (1441, 1597, and 1692 ad). The scope of this study involves building an inventory and assessing the site-specific geodiversity elements of Nemrut volcano that are relevant for geotourism use and geopark development. Nemrut volcano produces diverse abiotic elements with geomorphologic, structural, lithologic, and hydrologic values. The domes (Kirkor and Kale) and the Nemrut camels are geomorphological geosites. The lakes (hot and cold lakes) are hydrological geosites. The rift zone includes geosites with lithologic elements. The Nemrut caldera geosite consists of different amalgamations of abiotic elements. The method of Brilha (2016) was used to assess the geosites of Nemrut volcano. The average scientific value and geotourism use (potential touristic use) scores for all geosites are 3.16 and 2.32, respectively. The scientific values are greatest for the geosites of the caldera (3.60) and the lakes (3.40). The highest geotourism scores match well with the highest scientific value scores, obtained for the caldera and the lakes. The geological diversity indicator, a sub-component of the scientific value, is remarkably high for the caldera geosite (0.2) compared to the other geosites (0.0). The uniqueness (a geo-patrimonial criterion), bio-cultural and aesthetic scores highly influence the geotourism scores for the geosites of the caldera, lakes and rift zone compared to the scores of the other geosites. We propose that Nemrut volcano, and especially the geosites of Nemrut caldera and the lakes, has significant geopark and geoheritage values. Nemrut volcano, a proposed geopark site, exhibits the most recent volcanism in Anatolia and is among the geoparks included in the European Geoparks Network. The volcano is registered as a Ramsar site and supports vulnerable and endangered species (Melanitta fusca and endemic plants). The volcano is also a distinctive cultural landscape with a mythical origin and is relatively close to the touristic sites of the ruins of Urartu, an archaic kingdom in the northern part of the ancient Near East extending into portions of Eastern Anatolia. Due to these cultural assets and geo-assets, Nemrut volcano is a relevant geotouristic destination. The development of this volcano into a geopark may contribute to rural development by increasing local gross domestic product (GDP) in terms of employment and touristic traffic. Additionally, we make some recommendations related to infrastructure, precautions (medical services and a warning system for natural hazards), tourism services and a geopark tourist route to increase the importance of the volcano as a geopark.