Welcome Jeju Island

Various types of landscapes exist on the small island of Jeju, but I will mainly focus on coastal landscape of the island. After all, it is surrounded by water on all its sides.  On Jeju, 20 main beaches exist, each conveying unique bauty of their own. Forms and processes that helped create coastal landscapes in Jeju are; volcanic eruption which formed the island, but now an extinct volcano. Additionally, chemical weathering (salt weathering) and physical weathering (wind, waves) contributed to landscapes in the island.

Once erupted volcano now called Mt. Halla, it is the tallest mountain in Korea. At 1,950 meters and the varying temperatures year around, Mt. Halla houses over 1,800 plant species and 4,000 animal species which account for 3,300 species of insects. On top of Mt. Halla, crater lake called Baeknokdam is considered by the natives as the holiest place on Jeju. Baenokdam literally means “white dear lake.” Depending on the precipitation through the year, the lake grows up to two kilometers in circumference and one hundred meters deep.

Moving away from the mountain side, lets explore to the coastal landscapes on Jeju Island. The beautiful beaches made the island number one honeymoon destination for newlywed Koreans. In the picture below (right), calm spilling breaker waves reach bottom of sea cliff of an wave-cut terrace. The Terrace show evidence of where the water level used to be. Due to the

force of waves stricking against rocks, notch cliffs forms. With further physical weathering, the top part of the rock will be too heavy for the bottom part of the rock to supoprt resulting in break of the top part of the rock in to the ocean. This is not an unsual nor catastrophic event. Process of landscape changes are occuring everyday! What can limit changing of the landscape? Nothing. In efforts to preserve the beauty, people attempt to slow down the process of landscape change however, we cannot stop the  Nature from taking its course.  Construction of jetty, seawall or revetment does not stop the landscape rather, it promotes depositional landscapes. Sand deposits on one side of jetty depending on the direction of current, seawalls collect particles and revetments also trap particles.

Picture on the right is revetment.

In contrast to efforts of preserving the beauty, human activities speed up the process of landscape changes. Currently, citizens of Jeju Island is fighting to stop construction of Naval Base on the island. They are fighting to preserve the land and keep peace on the island. Another project sceduled to bring major changes to the island is construction of Jeju Hills Hotel. The design was proposed in 2011, but the actual date of construction is not released.

Based on current trends of weathering , I will attempt to hypothesize about Jeju’s landscape for following times.

Jeju in 10 years-As it is in process, new building and more tourist attractions will arise. Naval base would be built, bringing more military personnels to the island. In big scheme of things, no major changes to the landscape will occur except for areas around renovations. Beaches may change shape due to deposition of sands around jetties and traffic of many tourists.

Jeju in 100 years-In hundred years, the sea level change will be apparent. Sea level can rise or fall changing the coastlines either way. Notch cliffs that are receding may give up and break, creating sea stacks along the shore. If people continue to renovate and deforest the island, there will be change of habitat-decrease of biodiversity. Also, due to continuous salt weathering, basalt cliffs will have more round shape and smoother surface, or more alveolis and tafonis making current A’a surface more rugged. Many small knick points will disappear as the water runs over and over due to tendency of water to reach equilibrium and minimize efforts to flow down stream.

Jeju in 1000 years- Bigger notch cliffs will fall down especially if buildings continue to arise on top of the terraces. This will weigh down the terrace tremendously causing rock to be less resistent.  In the lava tubes (Geomunoreum Lava Tubes), formation of stlagmites and stalagtites will continue eventually forming cave columns. On the other side, cave may collapse due to heavy weight on the land above it.

sLeft: Design plan of Jeju Hills Hotel. Right: Waterfall with notchcliff underneath.

  Left: Dragon-head Lava Tube. Right: Wave striking bottom of the notchcliff.

Work cited







Jeju Island resides 36′  north latitude of the Earth. Being near the equator, Jeju has subtropic oceanic climate and temperate climate. Surrounded by the ocean, the temperature range throughout the year is small yet, Jeju displays four distinct seasons. Spring time occurs mid-February to April leading into the summer typhoon season in May and June. From 1940 to 1982, 110 typhoons passed the island. (5 ingredients of typhoon..)  From July to November, tourists gather around for the perfect beach weather. December to early February, frequent rainstorm hits the island along with snow fall at areas of higher altitude such as Mt. Halla.

Top left: Yellow rape flowers bloom and brighten the island in springs(Stratus clouds are throughout the sky). Top right: Ultimate season for tourism in summer. (Look at the cumulus clouds on the right and cirrostratus on the left!) Bottom left: Warm shades of red and orange paints over Mt. Halla in fall. Bottom right: Snow covered mountain during winter season

Due to influence of continental climates from northwest of the island which brings cold winter seasons and the influence of cool oceanic currents that provided not too hot summer seasons, the annual temperature of 16 ‘ is relatively low compared to other places on Earth with same latitudinal position. The hottest summer temperature peaks around 33′  and coldest winter temperature drops to 1’ .

Graph illustrating annual climate in Jeju Island. Left y-axis represents temperature ( in Celcius), right y-axis shows precipitation (mm) and x-axis represents months of the yearSources





Numerous breathtaking sites inspired by weathering exists abundantly throughout the Jeju Island.



Photo taken of edge of Mt.Sanbang. In far right of the mountain, faulting resulted due to tremendous stress from tectonic shifts. In this case, an over-thrust faulting occurred from lands transforming horizontally. To the left of over-thrust fault, monocline folding is displayed. In monocline, syncline (downward folded area) formed without the formation of anticline (upward folded area) that follows or vice versa. At the bottom of edge of the mountain, large tafoni found created due to salt weathering.


Another beautiful site named SoeSogak formed from reactivation of volcanic activity 700,000 years ago. Following rainfall, half of water flows out to the ocean and the other half absorbs back into ground water. Ground water then comes back up to the surface resulting in unification of Pacific Ocean and ground water. Other places exist where overflow of water meets the ocean however, SoeSoGak prides itself on the fact that the ground water directly joining with ocean. “Soe” represents first letter of name of the town where Soesogak is located, “So” means pond and “Gak” means the end. Below is a photo of where the ground water rises.



The non-organic shapes of rock looks as if it’s on a different planet but, the smooth, curvy shape of rocks resulted from physical weathering. The smooth surface indicates wind as weathering source and dark area above water caused by fluctuations in water level. White areas on the surface of rocks give clues to salt weathering from ocean water seeping through joints of rocks. Lime green patches of lichens reside and hint of orange of the rocks hints the presence of iron. Other than this particular part of SoeSogak, the other parts do not resemble this smooth futuristic surface.



Above picture represents majority of rocks in SoeSoGak. Due to people’s tendency for patternicity. One thought that the joints in the rock caused by root pressure from plants above made it look as if a couple are kissing so came about a name, “Love-Rock”. On the love rock, there are numerous alveolis and chelation formation of white lichens. The iron film designed itself on the rocks.

Jejudo, island of wind, basalt rocks and beautiful women, lies 130km from southern coast of South Korea at 32 21’31’’ North longitude and 126 32’31” East latitude. This inactive shield volcano maintains an elliptical shape. Its long axis stretches 73 km and short axis 31 km with total area of 18.23 sq km. Formation of Jeju occured 400,000 to 700,000 years ago from 2million years of volcanic activities by eruptions from magnetic plume under tectonic plate.

Left: Map of Geomunoreum Lava System: http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm10/fm10-sessions/fm10_V23B.html

On central island, incredible Geomunorem Lava Tube System extends 13 km. Oreum in Jeju dialect, refer to the parallel parasistic cone found around volcanos.  Geomunoreum Lava System developed 300,000 to 100,000 years ago and now most concentrated in the world with 368 oreums. System includes cinder cones and 8 large lava tubes and likely more to be found. In 2002, central Jeju was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve due to its great variety of phreatomagmatic vulcanism types.

Right: Image of vigor cave in Geomunorem Lava Tube System

Rock types in Jeju consist of 90% basalt, tuff cones and tuff rings, granite and assortment of sedimentary rocks. Picture below (right) demonstrates basalt cliff with joints that gave cloff hexagonal shaped pillars. Physical weathering surely happens on the island. The mushroom shaped rock shown below (left) resulted from salt weathering. As shown in the picture, tourists lay rocks on top of each other by act of prayer.


Sources: http://www.yunphoto.net/en.gp/photobase/yp6799.html




Image from ko.wikipedia.org

Hello! My name is Goeun Choi. I also go by Gloria. After first attending college in fall of 2007, I finally decided my major last semester. I am currently pursuing an individually structured major to become a science teacher. I am excited to take various disciplines of science and hope one of those will amuse me enough to want to teach it.

The place I chose to explore during this semester is Jeju Island, Korea. I selected Jeju because my parents tell me that we have visited there and has shown me pictures from the trip but, I do not recall the memory. I am hoping my memory will come back to me while studying the physical geography aspect of the island. If my memory fails to come back, at least I’ll have the knowledge of the beautiful island so my future trip to Jeju won’t be just woo’s and ahhhh’s. Instead, I can recollect what I’ve learned and study the surroundings in more scholarly manner.

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