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The "Deontological code of honour for amateur geologist" was first published in the Royal Belgian Journal on July 29th 1993. This code of conduct forms the ethical guidline for both collectors citizen scientists and professonial researchers within the Earth-sciences. 

Art. 1 - Definitions

Geology is the science that studies the accessible part of the lithosphere, in all its aspects and applications.
Geo objects are objects that have a geological origin, namely rocks, minerals and fossils; these can also be objects that   have been modified by a natural process.
A professional geologist is the person who practices geology as a profession and has the required diplomas and / or professional experience.
An amateur geologist is someone who practices geology as a hobby and therefore does not make it his profession or derives any financial benefit from it.
A trader is a person who trades in geo objects more than occasionally and legally.
A collector is a person who brings together geo objects from different sources.

Art. 2 - Laws and regulations

The amateur geologist or collector of geo objects undertakes everything to comply with all laws and regulations in force at the place and at the time of his activities.

Art. 3 - Safety rules

Any amateur geologist or collector of geo objects may not endanger himself or others by disregarding basic or specific safety rules.

Art. 4 - The Natural Environment

The amateur geologist or collector of geo objects has a duty to respect the natural environment. It is his duty to restore the place of his or her excavation activities to its original state. All acts of vandalism are completely prohibited.

Art. 5 - Protection of Geological sites and outcrops

Measures taken by the government to protect sites and outcrops must always be respected.

Art. 6 - The Amount of collected material

The amateur geologist or collector of geo objects will only sample for their personal collection.

Art. 7 - Trade in geo objects

The amateur geologist or collector of geo objects is only permitted to occasionally trade in geo objects. Exchange is encouraged as a mean to expand one's own collection.

Art. 8 - Tools

The amateur geologist or collector of geo objects will only use the traditional geological hand tools. Other techniques and tools may not be used without a permit.

Art. 9 - Basic knowledge

Amateur geologists and collectors of geo-objects should acquire the necessary basic knowledge in order to be able to evaluate the scientific importance of the collected objects.

Art. 10 - The Reporting Obligation

The amateur geologist or collector of geo objects is obliged to report every important discovery to competent scientific institutions.

Art. 11 - Management of the Collection

Collectors of geo objects undertake the obligation to properly manage their collections. Each specimen should be provided with the necessary data.

Art. 12 - Attitude towards Deception

It is not permitted to commit fraud by deliberately passing on counterfeit, prepared or altered geo-objects for real or natural. Deliberately providing incorrect, incomplete or false data is also a serious offence.

Art. 13 - Access to Collections

Collections of geo objects should be accessible to professional geologists or other researchers. By courtesy request and by appointment.

Art. 14 - Responsibility

Every amateur geologist or collector of geo objects, who is a member of a Belgian geological association that has subscribed to this code of ethics, is expected to know and respect it. He is responsible for his actions at all times. The associations of amateur geologists and collectors are responsible for the activities that they organize.

Art. 15 - Violations

Violations of this code of honor can be reported to the chairmen of the association(s) of which the offender is a member. These associations independently and in accordance with their statutes, consider the measures to be taken. Any person involved can submit the case to the Arbitration Council of the Council for Earth Sciences, the judgments of which are binding.


Are you organising fieldwork, a prospection, a fair or other activities within the Earth-science domain? Do not hesitate to contact us with all of your questions. We gladly offer our help


In order to keep a modern approach to fieldwork, geo-ethics and the inner workings of our partners and associations, we are open for suggestions concerning our code of conduct. If you have any remaks or if you would like to suggest changes or extra information to the Deontological code, please do not hesitate to contact the RAW-CST by e-mail

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