7 Sites that Made Jeju a Global Geopark Member
Jeju gained UNESCO Global Geopark status in 2010 due to its landscapes of international geological significance. Here is a look at the key sites.
- Well-Preserved Examples of Volcanic Activity7 Sites that Made Jeju a Global Geopark Member
Jeju gained membership in the Global Geopark Network in 2010. This is an award given to areas with sites of international geological significance. 13 attractions currently contribute to the Geopark designation–each of them well-preserved examples of the volcanic activity that occurred on the island between 1.8 million and 10,000 years ago.
This article will introduce seven of the attractions: Suweolbong Peak, Sanbangsan Mountain, Yongmeori Coast, Jusangjeolli Cliffs, Cheonjiyeon Falls, the Fossil Shells of Jeju Formation, and Manjanggul Cave. We’ll also explain why each one is significant.
Suweolbong Peak, Sanbangsan Peak, and Yongmeori Coast are three spectacular sites on the southwest of Jeju. Suweolbong Peak is a 77-meter high volcanic hill. The peak is relatively long and flat, with its slope slowly gathering height rather than shooting upward like many of the other volcanic hills on the island. The main interest geologically is the beachside cliff. Here you can clearly see the perfect layers of rock that created the hill 18,000 years ago when volcanic magma rising from the ground cooled as it hit the water. At the bottom of the cliff is a black sand beach, formed due to the waves crashing into the volcanic rock.
If you follow the coast south you’ll hit Sanbagsan Mountain. This is a 395-meter high tuff lava dome that dominates the otherwise relatively flat landscape in this part of Jeju. It formed around 800,000 years ago, making it one of the oldest examples of volcanic activity on the island. The mountain has a distinctive shape, due to the way rocky lava flowed out of the crater, falling down each side of the peak. Sanbangsan’s size and shape make it one of the most spectacular natural attractions on the island. If you want to climb the mountain, there is a trail that goes up to Sanbangsan Grotto, a cave on the southern face of the attraction. When you visit, keep an eye out for the unique cloud formations that often form around the mountain’s summit.
Yongmeori Coast is a section of coastline situated at the foot of Sanbangsan Mountain. It is a volcanic tuff ring known for its layered cliff that gives visitors insight into how the area formed. These cliffs also act as a spectacular backdrop to your holiday photos. There is a walking trail that takes visitors along the coast so you can see the unique scenery from up close. Just be sure to time your trip so that you don’t visit during a high tide. Get a preview of the area by watching our 4K tour in the video below.
Suweolbong Peak Address: 3760 Gosan-ri, Hangyeong-myeon, Jeju-si, Jeju-do
Find Out More: https://www.visitjeju.net/u/67K
Sanbangsan Mountain Address: San 16, Sagye-ri, Andeok-myeon, Seogwipo-si, Jeju-do
Find Out More: https://www.visitjeju.net/u/67M
Jusangjeolli Cliff is situated in Jungmun on the south side of Jeju. The cliff is notable due to its distinctive appearance: it’s created from multiple columns that jut up from the sea. The various columns come in many different sizes: each one’s straight edges and cubic or hexagonal shapes make them look like they were intentionally carved out of rock. Of course, that isn’t the case. Instead, they formed when lava erupted into the sea, causing it to cool. These cliffs stretch along the coast, and the path forms part of Olle Trail 8—one of Jeju’s coastal walking paths. The cliff is inside the Jungmun Tourist Complex so it’s an easy spot to visit if you stay in the area.
On an island known for its waterfalls, Cheonjiyeon Falls is one of the island’s most famous. The 22-meter-high 12-meter-wide waterfall crashes from above into a deep blue pool of water. The cliff face consists of trachyte rock, formed when rapidly cooling lava was enriched with silica and alkali metals. The vegetation growing on the waterfall cliffs and its hidden location at the end of a short river path gives the waterfall a mysterious atmosphere. But, its location on the edge of Seogwipo means it is easy for tourists to visit.
Seogwipo Formation is a layer of rock that lies under the entire island. It is thought to have formed around 1.8 million years ago. The formation has since been covered with rock created by the island’s volcanic activity. The only place that you can still see is this small section of coast a few hundred meters from the entrance to Cheonjiyeon Falls. Here you’ll see cliffs and rock formations that hint at what the area may have been like millions of years ago. The rocks are home to fossils of various types of sea life, including abalone, snails, sea urchins, and coral. The interesting thing about the fossils is that while many of the sea animals do still exist, they aren’t found near the shore. Rather, they live in warmer waters, showing that at the time, the coast around Seogwipo was warmer.
Jeju is known for its system of lava tubes. Manjanggul Cave is the most accessible of these for tourists, and a visit provides a fascinating insight into Jeju’s past. The tube itself is a 7.4-kilometer-long lava tube on the northeast of Jeju. Tourists can travel along around 1 kilometer of the cave. You enter through a hole in the roof of the cave. As you walk deeper into the tunnel, you pass many lava formations, including lava shelves, stalagmites, and stalactites. The walk’s highlight is the 7.6 high lava column situated at the end of the accessible section. This column is lit up and appears to fall out of a hole in the roof.
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