Continuing on the theme of waterfalls, this is Jeongbang, east of Seogwipo City and famous in this part of the world because it falls onto the beach. It is impressive to see the water falling and have the sound of waves crashing onto the black volcanic rocks in the background.
I wrote about the Eongtto Pokpo waterfall before, noting that for most of the time it’s completely dry. Well, it rained yesterday, it poured overnight, and at times this morning there was torrential rain accompanied by the sound of distant thunder. If there was a good time to see the waterfall doing what waterfalls do, this looked like it.
Sure enough, water was cascading over the rim at the top. Sure enough, we weren’t the only ones who had the same idea: we shared the experience with hundreds of other people. However, I didn’t take any selfies, and you won’t find any photos of me striking a pose with the waterfall in the background.
We weren’t the only people walking round the Yongmeori peninsular today. It’s set below Sanbangsan and just a few miles from Global Education City and the walk is closed if the tide is high or the waves too big. There was no danger of getting swept away today; indeed, there were many opportunities to sit down with a plate of sea food, as fresh as it comes, taken from a bowl of water and sliced as you wait, and eat it with a bottle of Soju (the local alcoholic drink). Even washed down with something strong, I wouldn’t be tempted by any of the unpleasant-looking options that were being cut up.
It’s easy to get blasé about the geology on Jeju, but Yongmeori is quite something. It’s originally a hydro-volcanic structure, subsequently subject to a process of erosion and deposition, the result being a low-level ledge around the peninsular backed by sculpted cliffs.
This is a sea cliff at Suweolbong Tuff Ring, on the western edge of Jeju and near the end of Olle 12. Jeju was certified as a Global Geopark by UNESCO in 2010, and nine sites were nominated as geosites as part of that; Suweolbong is one of them.
Borrowing some words from the “Suweolbong, Hill of Winds” guide book, a tuff ring is formed by hydro-volcanic activity, i.e. molten lava comes into contact with water (in this case, the sea). A tuff ring is distinguished from a tuff cone, which is relatively tall and steep, the difference being due to the relative viscosity of the molten rocks.
The layers in these photos are a result of pyroclastic flow, the same mechanism that destroyed Pompeii. Layers of volcanic material flow downhill to give the stratified effect. In addition, fallout from the volcano drops onto the layers – hence the embedded larger rocks and the sags in the layers.
Follow that with the action of the sea to create the cliff and you get this remarkable coastline. Living on Jeju is like living in a text book of physical geography.
I’ve posted a few pictures of the walls that bound Jeju’s fields before and here are two more. I took them on the road between Hallim to Jeoji this afternoon but I could have taken them just about anywhere – they’re ubiquitous on the island. It makes sense, as the rocks were cleared from the fields in the first place.
Like this one, many don’t look as carefully constructed as a dry-stone wall in the UK, but that may just be the nature of the rocks. They probably don’t need to be as robust as a British dry-stone wall: there are no sheep, cows are typically kept in barns, and horses are often tethered.
This is Eongtto Pokpo, a 50 metre waterfall on Olle trail 7-1. There’s no water in it, but that’s my experience with most Jeju water features – there are any number of dry river beds, deep and full of boulders and with the occasional puddle. There’ll be a rainy season in the summer so maybe, briefly, the rivers will fill.
Olle 7-1 isn’t part of the circuit of trails that circumnavigates the island; it’s a spur that starts at the World Cup stadium on Seogwipo, loops inland and ends on the coast at Oedolgae, the starting point for Olle 7. As a reminder that it’s spring, I took the photos below while on the trail.
This is National Monument No. 98, the Manjangul lava tube. From ground level, 113 steps lead downwards into the cool dampness of an underground tunnel. You don’t get any sense of scale from these photos (the best I could do without a flash), but it’s over 7 km long, and up to 18 m wide and 23 m high. So, it’s an enormous feature.
The surfaces of the tunnel bear witness to the way in which it was formed. Lava from volcanic eruptions flowed down a hillside; the surface cooled and solidified while the lava below the surface remained hot and continued to flow, leaving a hollow tunnel. Subsequent lava flows within the tunnel melted rock from the floor, making it deeper, and melted the sides, leaving a series of ‘tide marks’ depending on the depth of the lava. In places, chunks of rock were carried along by the flow, only to be deposited and coated as the lava cooled.
Olle trail 10 is home territory, with the finish point in Museulpo (or Moseulpo, depending on how it has been transliterated), close to Global Education City. So I knew that the route went past the volcanic features of Sanbangsan and Songaksan but I didn’t know about some of the features at the start of the trail.
Within a few hundred metres of the start you come across this debris of stratified conglomerate (I made that up) fallen from the cliffs along the edge of the sea. That’s Sanbangsan in the background of the picture above.
A few hundred metres further on and it’s all change; it’s back to the volcanic black rock that’s so common on Jeju.
Here are a couple of pictures of columnar jointing. You can see this in lots of places along the south coast of the island but to see it in such close proximity to the sand-coloured rock we’d passed a few hundred metres earlier, and which returns later along the trail, was quite something.
I’ve posted a picture of this stack, Oedolgae Rock, before. It’s very close to the start of Olle trail 7, just west of Seogwipo City. The name has a meaning something like ‘lonely rock’ and is so named because of its isolated position. More anthropomorphism; inanimate objects aren’t just named because of an imagined resemblance to an animal (Cow Island, Bat Oreum, etc.), but because they’re attributed human feelings and characteristics.
Something I hadn’t seen before is a monument nearby that recalls an incident in 1968, and I quote:
“IN THE MEMORY OF COURAGE AND VALOR
“Here on the night of August 20th, 1968, Unit 753 of the North Korean Military arrived on Armed Boat 51 to extract a North Korean spy named Yi X who was operating in Jeju-do, South Korea.
“In a fierce 6 hour battle, a joint military unit comprised of Police Officers from the Seogwipo Police Station and a South Korean military unit completely destroyed the armed boat, killed 12 guerillas, arrested 2 armed guerillas and captured 14 machine guns along with some antiaircraft weapons.
“On this day, the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the National Police Agency, this monument was built to honor the bravery, courage and valor displayed by the aforementioned Seogwipo Police Officers and South Korean Soldiers. May this exemplary achievement serve as an inspiration for all.”
I took these photos a couple of weekends ago, from the boat on the way back from Marado. They’re all of Songaksan, the volcano at the southern tip of Jeju.
In the space of just a few minutes we approached the coast, rounded a headland and then passed the most remarkable series of rock formations. Songaksan is impressive when you’re on top, looking at the strange, wrinkled, formations you walk on, but it’s even more so when you see it from sea level. Maybe the complex rock formations you can see from sea level explain why the land surface itself is so irregular.
If you’re looking at the photos on your smart phone, you may not see the fishermen at the foot of the cliffs in two of the photos. The pictures are worth looking at on a bigger scale, I suggest.
And one more – five full-width photos in one post isn’t my usual format but I have to add the one below with the huge stacks waiting to collapse into the sea.