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Jeju Island UNESCO Global Geopark
Jeju Island UNESCO Global Geopark
Figure 1. Location of Jeju Island
Figure 2. Mt. Hallasan - the symbol of Jeju Island (source: http://www.globalgeopark.org/aboutGGN/list/Korea/6462.htm)
Jeju Island UNESCO Global Geopark is a Quaternary shield volcanic island characterized by an overall gentle topography and an elliptical shape, situated off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula. The island was produced by volcanic activity which occurred from about 2 million years ago until historic times. Basaltic to trachytic lavas occur extensively on the island together with diverse volcanic landforms, including Mount Hallasan that rises at the center of the island and about 360 volcanic cones that are scattered throughout the island. In the subsurface, however, numerous hydromagmatic volcanoes (tuff rings and tuff cones) produced by explosive hydrovolcanic activity occur extensively together with intervening volcanoclastic sedimentary deposits.
The overall geomorphologic features of Jeju Island are, in large part, divided into three categories as follows:
• Lava plateaus developed in lower parts of coastal areas;
• The shield volcano of Hallasan in the center of the island; and
• Volcanic cones and craters (oreums in the Jeju dialect) surrounding Hallasan.
At the summit of Hallasan, there is a crater lake named Baeknokdam with maximum and minimum width of 585 and 375 m, respectively. About 360 volcanic craters and cones lie scattered about the major axis of the island so that they dominate the overall topography and scenery of Jeju.
Volcanic activity along the coastal regions had occurred in a watery environment, causing the formation of tuff rings and cones, and later on the constant seawater erosion continued to create unique and ever-evolving coastal landscapes. Another geomorphologic feature of Jeju Island is the large-scale lava tubes which have developed underground. Lava of low viscosity and high fluidity flowed repeatedly toward the ocean from the volcanic centers around Hallasan so that worldscale lava tubes were created beneath the surface. Jeju’s drainage system is made up of streams that radiate outwards from the central high-point of Hallasan. While drainage systems created from wide lava plateaus formed on the gentle east-west slope of Hallasan are less evolved, most watercourses were developed on the north-south slopes and run either southbound or northbound. Owing to nature of the geological features there are no permanently running streams on Jeju. Water from upper streams runs into the underground through permeable layers developed on the edges of lava flows or along columnar joints in the streambeds.
Although the ground water rises to the surface near the seashores, sometimes forming waterfalls, most of water courses in Jeju are dry stream beds for much of the year
Figure 3. View of the Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone and Hallasan in the back
Figure 4. Rhododendron mucronulatum var. in Mt. Hallasan
Figure 5. Jusangjeolli Columnar Joints
Terrestrial ecosystems Jeju Island, a volcanic island, is in an oceanic climatic zone and has a relatively mild weather with 15.5 °C as an average annual temperature. However, the climate of Hallasan varies according to altitude so that the geographical distribution of subtropical and arctic plants and animals is different. The land ecosystems of Jeju, reaching from the seaside tidal zone to Baeknokdam, on Hallasan, can be divided into six domains—a coastal wetland zone, an evergreen broadleaved forest zone, a grassland zone, a deciduous forest zone, a coniferous forest zone and an alpine shrub zone. The coastal wetland zone is mainly distributed on a small scale in the region close to the seaside tidal zone where water gushes out from seaside springs. The dominant species are Pinus thunbergii and halophilic plants such as Crinum asiaticum var. japonica, Hamabo mallow, Paliurus ramosissimus, Ixeris repens and various reeds. Migratory birds include Black-faced Spoonbills, Whooper Swans, Storks, Mandarin Ducks, and Herring Gulls. The evergreen broadleaved forest zone is characterized by many sites such as the Cheonjiyeon and Cheonjeyeon valleys with Castanopsis cuspidate var. sieboldii, Elaeocarpus sylvestris var. ellipticus, Cymbidium kanran, Cymbidium goeringii, and Ardisia japonica found therein. There are many permanent resident birds such as Brown-eared Bulbuls, Japanese White-eyes, Great Tits and Bush Warblers. The grassland zone is largely successional arising from past disturbance. A small wind rose, Smilax china, and Pinus thunbergii are prominent. Small marshes form sporadically with marsh-land plants such as Isoetes japonica, Brasenia schreberi, Marsilea quadrifolia and animals such as Blackspotted Pond Frogs and Tiger Keelback Snakes. The deciduous forest zone includes areas such as Seongpanak, Eorimok, Yeongsil, and Tamla valley on Hallasan. Dominant tree species include Prunus yedoensis, Carpinus laxiflora, Sasaquelpaertensis sp., Ligularia fischeri, and Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorumas as well as animals such as Roe Deer, Badgers, White-backed Woodpeckers, Great Tits and Jays. In the coniferous forest zone, dominant tree species include a large number of Abies koreana, Pinus densiflora, Taxus cuspidata and Juniperus chinensis var. sargentii. In addition, shrubs such as Rhododendron mucronulatum var. ciliatum and Crowberry are widely distributed in this buffer zone to Baeknokdam. Roe Deer, Jungle Crows, Coal Tits, Common Buzzards and Peregrine Falcons can be found here. In the alpine shrub zone, there are many classes of shrubs of small size on account of a low temperature and strong winds. These include Rhododendron mucronulatum var. ciliatum, Diapensia japonica var. obovata and Betula schmidtii. Jeju Salamanders and the Korean Fire-bellied Toads inhabit the Baeknokdam lake.
4.2 Marine life
Jeju Island is geographically located within a temperate and subtropical zone, and is naturally surrounded by the ocean. The total length of the coastal line is 253 km with a broad continental shelf located 100 m below the sea level. Comparatively high winter water temperatures allow a variety of fish to use this area for spawning and overwintering. Accordingly, many abundant fishing grounds are formed by the warm currents from the East and West Seas of Korea. Three hundred and fifty species of sedentary and migatory fish inhabit the waters. Rare fish such as Whale-sharks, Baskingsharks, Devil-rays, Japanese diamond-skates, Manchurian sturgeons and Oarfish also occur. With the exception of some sandy coasts, most of the coastal area is comprised of rock beds which provide a good habitat for marine algae and mollusks. The flora of marine algae area is varied and has been classified as the Jeju Zone. The marine algae flora is subdivided as follows: 2 % belonging to the northern type, 10 % southern type, 74 % temperate type in addition to 14 % indicating characteristics of the island. Also, of special interest are some 150 species of shellfish such as abalone and turban shells which find algae to be their main food source. Also notable within this community are 20∼25 species of shellfish found along the sandy beaches of Kwakji-ri and the Seongsan area. More than 150 species of crustacean and other sea creatures can be found on Jeju including lobster shrimp, crab and abalone as well as starfish. Reptiles, cephalopods, sea urchins and sea cucumber are also abundant as are corals.
- An Island of Peace (by the Republic of Korea in 2005);
- A Healthy City (by the World Health Organization in 2005); and
- A Free International City (by the Republic of Korea in 2002) with no visa requirements and no taxes.
Sustaining local Communities
There is cultural diversity within Jeju Island UNESCO Global Geopark where marine and continental cultures including China co-exist. The Jeju Island Special Self-Governing Province has established its organization to handle the Geopark’s management and operation, which will create economic benefits and sustainably conserve the natural environment and geoheritage on the island. Various kinds of activities to publicize the importance of UNESCO Global Geoparks and to preserve natural heritages include enlargement of guidance infrastructures (guided trail program and so on), education of local residents, training of guidance, promotion of UNESCO Global Geoparks and geosites, development of geosites brand product (geo-food, geo-gift and geo-buddy character and so on), recultivation of traditional culture festival, finding of additionally potential geosites with geoheritage value, and extension of the international partnership with Global Geopark Network members.
 K. S. Woo et al., Jeju Island Geopark—A Volcanic Wonder of Korea, Geoparks of the World, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-20564-4_2, © Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013. P3
 See Wikipedia picture from top view
 K. S. Woo et al., Jeju Island Geopark—A Volcanic Wonder of Korea, Geoparks of the World, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-20564-4_1, © Springer Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013. Pg 1.