Vigie-Terre, survey geological sites
Did you know? In France, rocks and the landscapes they form tell the story of the planet over a period of nearly 2.2 billion years. To contribute to the study and preservation of this exceptional heritage, join the Vigie-Terre (Land vigil) citizen science program!
To know and preserve
Geographical diversity, or “geodiversity”, is an essential component of nature. While this mineral component of our environment may seem less changeable than living species, factors such as erosion, land use and climate change affect it just as much! New geological outcrops may be uncovered as a result of natural phenomena, such as a landslide, or by human activity. The problem is that these often go undiscovered due to the absence of an examination protocol, unlike archaeological remains. Sites of great interest start out temporarily visible, but unfortunately are quickly vegetated, filled in or concreted over without being recorded or studied by scientists. The Vigie-Terre citizen science program is all about increasing our knowledge of these sites and preserving them, thanks to your help!
We can only protect things we know about, which is why several initiatives led to the establishment, in 2007, of a National Inventory of Geological Heritage, for which the Museum is scientifically responsible. What is the aim here? To identify areas of "special geological, mineralogical and palaeontological value" in France.
Explore and describe
This project is open to all those who are interested in nature, regardless of their level of knowledge of geology, from the novice to the most experienced. It relies on a network of volunteer observers to report recently discovered sites, the traces of which may otherwise be lost. The good news is that you can participate in Vigie-Terre all year round, as many times as you want, without any regularity requirement, all over metropolitan France and even during your holidays! Download the field guide provided, and set off to explore with it. Once you have found a geological site, look around and note down the requested information. Don’t worry, you’ll be guided! You can use your mobile phone to record the information on site, or do it when you get home using the dedicated website. All this data will help the Earth speak to us, feeding into the work of researchers and diagnosing the need for preventative action.
Several places of significant interest have been discovered by amateurs. These geological treasures include dinosaur tracks, glacial moraines, perfectly preserved fossils and more! By contributing to the geological heritage study, you may be lucky enough to spot a unique site yourself.
If you wish to participate in the Vigie-Terre program, go to the dedicated website.
The Vigie-Terre program is implemented on various territories via numerous relays.