The Basaltic Monogenetic Volcanic Field of the Bakony–Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark, Hungary: From Science to Geoeducation and Geotourism
As a part of the long-standing volcanism of the Carpathian–Pannonian Region, a basaltic monogenetic volcanic field developed here from 8–2.3 Ma. This is a specific type of volcanism, when mostly a small volume of magma erupts intermittently and always in a new place. The Bakony–Balaton Uplands area is an excellent natural laboratory, where several unique volcanological features can be observed and which provides an insight into how such volcanism is taking place. This volcanic field consists of more than 50 volcanic centers and almost all volcanic eruption types characterizing basalt volcanism can be recognized here, such as hydrovolcanic (phreatic to phreatomagmatic) eruptions and magmatic (Strombolian and Hawaiian) explosive eruptions with proximal and distal pyroclastic deposits, clastogenetic lava, valley-channeled lava flow, lava lake and vent-filling basalts. Since significant uplift and erosion occurred after the volcanism, the original volcanic edifices have been variously eroded, enabling the unique exposure even of the vent and conduit sections. The lava lake and valley-filled basalts were resistant to erosion that resulted in an inverted morphology landscape. Building on scientific results gained from petrological and volcanological studies for more than a century, the Bakony–Balaton UNESCO Global Geopark makes a great effort to transfer this knowledge to geoeducation and geotourism development. This includes volcanological nature trails over 40 km in length and visitor centers with exhibitions designed not only to unravel the nature of volcanic processes, but also to serve as entertainment and recreation. This is accomplished by regular guided outdoor activities led by certified local partners, who successfully passed the geopark geotour-guide training courses.