Taking an interest in geoheritage times means in particular to be interested in the links between geosites and time. The title of the thematic session “Time Scaling Issues in Geoheritage Studies” suggests that, like spatial scales, this time can be plural, especially concerning a geosite, which can be considered as a temporal integrator both with regard to the age of the constitutive rocks and the age of the genetic phenomenons. Whether for inventory, protection or enhancement purposes, scientists, as well as geoheritage managers and interpreters, often find themselves unable to express the plurality of temporal dimensions relating to geo(morpho)sites. In addition, we note that the question of temporal values is generally absent from geopatrimonial assessment processes, or at best merged into other registers of values such as paleogeographic values.
This is why we propose, on an exploratory basis, a terminology relating to the concept of temporal dimensions of geosites, founder of their temporal values. This terminology is based on taking into account the different temporal statuses identified in the related literature: active / inherited, continuously (gradualism) / discontinuous (catastrophism), etc. [Reynard, 2004a, 2004b; Pelfini and Bollati, 2014]). Thanks to this terminology, the concepts of temporal dimensions and temporal values of geoheritage could thus be mobilized in an applied manner in assessment methodologies, protection and management plans, or even in the context of promotion and interpretation of geosites, where the relationship to time can go beyond looking back, to project into a prospective future (cf. the “Past-Present-future” concept [Martini, 2012]). Such applications are tested and developed particularly in Geoparks, such as the Massif des Bauges (French Alps), which will serve as an example.
Keywords: geoheritage|geosite|geomorphosite|temporal dimension|temporal value