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Nine Jeju Geological Sites Named UNESCO Global Geoparks
  The southernmost territory of Korea, the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province is a volcanic island created by eruptions millions of years ago. It is Korea’s largest island and an international destination with fascinating natural landscapes and academic value.

In October 2010, nine geological sites in Jeju Island received recognition as UNESCO Global Geoparks from the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network (GGN). UNESCO's support for Global Geoparks aims to safeguard, educate, and sustainably manage landscapes and geological formations of outstanding geological, archeological, and ecological value and promote tourism around these sites to increase benefit local economies. The evaluation was made based on applications presented to the UNESCO GGN, followed by an on-site inspection in Jeju. The sub-categories of evaluation include the number and diversity of geological sites, strategy to protect against damage of geological sites and features, overall conservation measures, information center(s) within the area, and transportation options for tourists.

The Jeju sites became the first in Korea to earn this recognition, and with it, Jeju becomes the only place in the world with three UNESCO certifications, following its Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site designations in 2002 and 2007, respectively. The following is a brief description of the nine Jeju sites designated as Global Geoparks, which include Hallasan Mountain, Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak, and Manjanggul Cave that are also UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Hallasan Montain
Situated in the heart of Jeju Island, Mount Hallasan (1,950 meters) is the highest mountain in Korea and a dormant basalt volcano. About 360 parasitic cones, or oreum in the Jeju dialect, are found on the volcano's flanks, creating a remarkable landscape. On top of the mountain is a crater lake called Baengnokdam, which is 3 kilometers in circumference and 500 meters in diameter. The landscape is beautiful throughout the year and a diverse and rare ecosystem can be found at different altitudes. As such, Mount Hallasan is a Natural Conservation Area.
☞ Click here for more on Mt. Hallasan National Park [UNESCO World Heritage]
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak
Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (182 meters high) rose from the sea in a series of volcanic eruptions beginning over 100,000 years ago. The site resembles an old fortress on a coastal cliff and was originally a volcanic island but was later connected as sand and gravel accumulated in between. The sunrise seen from the peak is considered one of the most fascinating scenic views in Jeju.
☞ Click here for more on Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak [UNESCO World Heritage]
Manjanggul Cave
Manjanggul Cave is the longest lava tube in the world. It is 5 meters wide, between 5 to 10 meters high and is over 13 km long. The lava tube, which formed about 2.5 million years ago, has been well preserved, revealing a splendid interior that is out of this world. Only one kilometer of its total length is open to tourists.
☞ Click here for more on Manjanggul Cave [UNESCO World Heritage]
Seogwipo Stratum
The Seogwipo Stratum is the only marine sedimentary formation created in Korea during the Pliocene Epoch from 5.3 million to 2.6 million years ago. Situated in Seohong-dong in Seogwipo-si, the formation contains fossils of thick shell along coastal cliffs. The stratum has a high academic value as it offers valuable information on the environment and marine life of the era it was formed.
☞ Click here for more on Seogwipo Formation
Cheonjiyeon Falls
Cheonjiyeon Falls create a splendid view of water falling from a steep cliff with a sound that drowns out all others. Cheonjiyeon literally means ‘pond where sky meets land.’ The cliff of the fall is a habitat for rare plants of warm temperate zones in a wooded forest.
☞ Click here for more on Cheonjiyeon Falls
Jusangjeolli Cliffs
Jusangjeolli Cliffs refer to the set of blackish, rock pillars of rectangular or hexagonal shapes on the east coast of Jungmun Tourist Resort. As if carved by stonemasons, the pillars are evidence of nature’s awesome power. Most commonly expressed as vertical columnar jointing, the formations are created via sudden cooling of lava that shrinks in mass. The sight of waves crashing against the columns is both serene and beautiful. On days with rough weather, waves can rise as high as 20 meters.
☞ Click here for more on Jusangjeolli Cliffs
Sanbangsan Mountain
Situated on the southwest coast of Jeju Island, Sanbangsan Mountain (395 meters) is a volcanic formation in the shape of a bell. The mountain has two Buddhist temples. A walk up the stone staircase leads to a sea cave called Sanbanggul. Inside is a temple called Sanbanggulsa containing a Buddhist statue. At the summit is a thick grove of evergreens. The rare plants on the cliffs are designated and preserved as natural monuments.
☞ Click here for more on Sanbangsan Mountain
Yongmeori Beach
Yongmeori Beach is just a 10-minute walk from Sanbangsan Mountain. The location’s name, yongmeori (lierally meaning ‘dragon's head’) because of the resemblance to a dragon wading out the sea. Walk past the narrow passageway to the sea to find a rock wall of sandstone layers formed tens of millions of years ago. The coast offers great walking areas and splendid landscapes created from persistent waves.
☞ Click here for more on Yongmeori Beach
Suwolbong Peak
In the westernmost side of Jeju Island is an expansive field, at the end of which is a small cone by the coast called Suwolbong Peak (77 meters). The cliff below the peak shows clear fossil stratum, an amazing creation of Mother Nature. Suwolbong Peak is known as the best place to view the glows of the setting sun in Jeju.
☞ Click here for more on Suwolbong Peak
Travel Info

1330 tt call center: +82-64-1330 (Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese)
Columns related to Jeju-do:
    - Jeju Island: Volcanic Island full of Allure
    - Jeju Olle
    - Jeju-do Island: A paradise of leisure in the sea, land, and sky
Jeju Tour Information Website (Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese)

Date 01/10/2011

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