Qeshm Geopark

Country: Iran

Qeshm Island with an area of 1500 square kilometers, which is the largest island in the Persian Gulf in a coastal area with a warm and dry climate, an average annual rainfall of 120 millimeters, located in a semi-tropical or subtropical climate and it is situated in the vegetative area of the Persian and Oman, Gulf.

One of the unique features of Qeshm Island is the presence of different habitats, especially its coastal habitats. For example, a variety of coastal beds such as rocky shores, coral reefs, muddy beaches, sandy beaches, and Mangrove forests, scattered all over the Persian Gulf, can be found together on Qeshm island.

The geological, natural and cultural attractions of Qeshm Island have been introduced in 25 geo-sites. These geo-sites are actively protected based on the conservation strategies of Qeshm UGGp Management.

Qeshm Island UNESCO Global Geopark has three cities and 57 villages. There are about 120,000 people residing on Qeshm Island. The major business opportunities of the people are trading and fishing. Local communities are now also engaged in geotourism activities and profit from the benefits of this sustainable and environment-friendly business, which provides a real motivation for the local community to conserve the geosites.

The Qeshm Area of the Persian Gulf Region forms part of the south and eastern extreme foreland of the Zagros geological and structural Province, expressed in the NW-SE trending Zagros Mountain ranges. The more southerly part of the Zagros Fold Belt faces, but is separated from the Oman Region, while the Mokran geological and structural Province lies to the east, beyond the Minab-Oman fracture zone. The highest mountain peak on Qeshm Island is related to the Kish Kuh Anticline structures that have increased the height in part as an effect of diapirism tectonics, related to the Namakdan Salt Plug. Qeshm Island UNESCO Global Geopark has also the world longest salt cave, 6600 m in length. In addition to the salt formation and complex, other sedimentary formations are exposed in the different anticline structures on the island. The succession consists of conformable Neogene (Mio-Pliocene) units, with a total thickness of about 1200 to 1850 meters from the eastern to western ends of this island, respectively. In general, mountainous or high ranges nearly coincide with the folds having anticline structure, or in part as salt dome diapers, and the relative lowlands are mainly within or based on intermediate forms or synclines. Several major geosites are also located around the anticlines.

The island has abundant wildlife, including birds, reptiles, dolphins and turtles. In Qeshm Island, zoogeographical areas of Palearctic and Oriental, and phytogeographical areas of Afro-tropical, Oriental and Eurasian, are meeting each other, which generated a huge variety in fauna and flora.

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