Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes
The island of Jejudo figures significantly in terms of the preservation of biodiversity. Almost half of all vascular plants found in Korea and about 200 endemic plant species are found on the island, together with half of Korea’s endangered and protected wild species. High on the summit of Mt. Hallasan live polar plant species that advanced southwards during the ice age, while numerous indigenous species and endangered species inhabit the lower altitudes. Without a doubt, Mt. Hallasan is a rich ecological treasure trove, with 1565 species of plants and 1,179 species of animals.
On June 27, 2007, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee listed Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes as a World Natural Heritage in view of the site’s parasitic volcano and lava tubes, as well as for its outstanding geological features and special properties as a habitat for a variety of rare and endangered species. Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes largely comprises of three sites: Mount Hallasan Natural Reserve, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, and the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System. The lava tube system includes Geomunoreum, a parasitic cone, and the five lava caves of Bengdwigul, Manjanggul, Gimnyeonggul, Yongcheondonggul, and Dangcheomuldonggul.
Mount Hallasan Natural Reserve
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Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
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Geomunoreum Lava Tube System
The largest tube in the Geomunoreum system is Manjanggul. In terms of both length and scale of the entrance, Manjanggul and Gimnyeonggul are among the most internationally recognized formations. Also notable is Bengdwigul, a labyrinth-type cave whose structure is the most complex of any in the world. Other caves that are outstanding in terms of geological value are Yongcheondonggul and Dangcheomuldonggul on the southern coast of Jeju. While Dangcheomuldonggul Cave is quite small, it has a spectacular display of limestone formations. In addition, the limestone structures and geological features found in Yongcheondonggul are unmatched by any in the world.
|Yongcheon Cave |
*The Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes were judged on the merits of their outstanding universal value and met UNESCO’s criteria that a natural site being considered as a World Natural Heritage must ‘contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance’ and ‘be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant ongoing geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features.’