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Manjanggul lava tube

Outline

Site name : Geomunoreum Lava Tube System

Site Area : 22.367㎢ (Core zone=3.303㎢ , Buffer zone=19.064㎢ )

Inscription date : 2007. 6. 27

Status of National Monuments

Site: Geomunoreum

Status of Designation: National Monument No. 98

Year: 2005

Summary
The Geomunoreum Lava Tube System is located between Seonheul-ri, Jocheon-eup and Weoljeong-ri, Gujwa-eup. Jeju City, Jeju Self-Governing Province. This system refers to a series of lava tube caves formed in the large amounts of basaltic lava spewed out by the live Geomunoreum volcano, the summit of which has an elevation of 456 m. The lava from the Geomunoreum volcano flowed down the slope of Mt. Hallasan in a north-northeast direction down to the coastline for about 13㎞. This system is estimated to have been formed between about 100 and 300 thousand years ago.

So far, the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System includes the Seonheul Vertical Cave, Bengdwigul Lava Tube, Bukoreumdonggul Lava Tube, Daerimdonggul Lava Tube, Mangjanggul Lava Tube, Gimnyeonggul Lava Tube, Yongcheondonggul Lava Tube, and Dangcheomuldonggul Lava Tube towards the sea. However more caves are expected to be discovered in the future. Among the above, the Bengdwigul Lava Tube, Mangjanggul Lava Tube, Gimnyeonggul Lava Tube, Yongcheondonggul Lava Tube and Dangcheomuldonggul Lava Tube are designated as national monuments.

The perfect preservation of the internal morphological features, despite their old age of formation, and the outstanding beauty associated with numerous beautiful carbonate speleothems enabled “Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes” to be inscribed as a World Natural Heritage.

Since the first research article on Geomunoreum Lava Tube System was published in the Journal of the Geological Society of Korea in 2005, this system was officially known to scientific communities in Korea.

Value of Geomunoreum Lava Tube System
The Geomunoreum lava tube system is the most impressive and significant series of protected lava tube caves in the world and includes a spectacular array of secondary carbonate speleothems (stalactites and other formations). And it overwhelms other lava tubes with its abundance and diversity. The Geomunoreum Lava Tube System, which is regarded as the finest such cave system in the world, has an outstanding visual impact even for those experienced with such phenomena. It displays the unique spectacle of multi-colored carbonate decorations adorning the roofs and floors, and dark-colored lava walls, partially covered by a mural of carbonate deposits.

In addition, lava tube caves are like those in limestone karst in scale, shape and internal decoration, but completely different in origin. Lava tube caves are known from basaltic terrain in most of the world’s volcanic regions. The lava tube caves of the Geomunoreum Lava Tube System are, however, regarded as internationally important due to their length, massive volume, intricate passage configuration, well preserved internal lava features, abundant and spectacular secondary carbonate formations, ease of access, and their scientific and educational values. Another feature making Geomunoreum Lava Tube System globally significant and distinctive is the presence of carbonate deposits and formations. Very small deposits of calcite are common in lava tube caves, and are more significantly developed as speleothems in Duck Creek cave in Utah, USA. However, in abundance, density and diversity they are far less impressive than those of Yongcheongul and Dangcheomuldonggul Lava Tubes in Jeju, and the scale of these decorations within the lava caves of Jeju Island far exceeds any other comparable examples. The nomination is supported by the Commission on Volcanic Caves of the International Union of Speleology – the world’s most authoritative scientific body on volcanic caves, which regards Jeju’s lava caves as being of the highest international ranking. Further, a 1995 global review regarded Dangcheomul cave as the “best display of different calcite speleothems within a volcanic cave.” Yongcheongul Lava Tube has been discovered subsequently and is of equivalent value.

Photo Gallery @ Courtesy of Flickr user, iJustinian

Category: Jeju Island