3 GGN/APGN Geoparks in Korea.
Jeju is a volcanic island that was formed in the Cenozoic era over the last 2 million years. It has well-preserved, unique geological features which add to its attraction as a tourist destination. The local tourism industry began roughly 50 years ago and a variety of tour courses, geological sightseeing attractions, and tour packages have been developed over those years making it into the Geopark that it is now. That development is ongoing, with a goal of further economic expansion. Recognition of the natural and cultural values of Jeju is demonstrated internationally by the inscription of parts of the island as a UNESCO Man and The Biosphere Reserve (2002) and as the Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes World Heritage Area (2007).
Jeju is an island, volcanic in origin, situated on the continental shelf 90 km off the southwest of the Korean Peninsula. Specifically, Jeju Island is located between 33?11´27? and 33?33´50? north in latitude and between 126?08´43? and 126?58´20? east in longitude. The east side of Jeju faces Tsushima and Nagasaki in Japan across the South Sea of the Korean Peninsula and the East China Sea. The west side of the island faces Shanghai in China across the East China Sea. Jeju is 450 km from Seoul, 270 km from Busan, 330 km from Fukuoka in Japan, and 500 km from Shanghai in China.
Jeju Island was formed from volcanic activity occurring through the Pliocene to the Pleistocene Epochs. As a result, the drainage system, mountain system and coastal topography of Jeju show specific characteristics related to how and when the volcanic activities occurred. The plan of Jeju is an oval with a major axis of N70?E, which is parallel with the south coastline of the Korean Peninsula, and is accord with NE-SW tectonic lines on the Korean Peninsula. The island as a whole formed from a shield volcano with Hallasan as a central, and main, eruptive center. The total coastline, of approximately 253 km is generally unvaried and mostly made up of rocky shores of exposed volcanic rock, and occasionally small-sized pocket beaches with a limited number of sand dunes in some areas.
Cheongsong UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the central eastern area of the Republic of Korea. Its name is derived from “Cheongbo” and “Songsang,” meaning “green treasure” and “pine tree ecology,” respectively. The volcanic rocks in Cheongsong have exceptionally high silica content, which caused the hot lava that flowed from the area’s volcanos to form balls of dark and light layers as it cooled down. This has resulted in a unique and beautiful type of rock, locally called the Flower Stone.
Mudeungsan Area Geopark is centred around Mudeung mountain, which towers high above Gwangju city. The mountain has long occupied an important place in the spiritual world of the people of Jeollanam-do, the former Honam, who see mountaintops as altars for celestial worship. Its geoheritage ranges from large polygonal jointed tuff columns, recording at least three phases of Cretaceous volcanic activity, extensive periglacial-produced landforms, unusual microclimatic environments, dinosaur footprints and trackways, and a variety of other geological and geomorphological features.