Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mt. Hallasan National Park - South Korea

Hallasan is a shield volcano on Jeju Island of South Korea. Hallasan is the highest mountain of South Korea. The area around the mountain is a designated national park, the Hallasan National Park (Hallasan Gungnip Gongwon). Hallasan Park is one of the oldest and most popular tourist attractions on Jeju. It is located on the west coast of the island.
Hallasan is commonly considered to be one of the three main mountains of South Korea, with Jirisan and Seoraksan being the other two. Alternate names for the mountain include Hanla Mountain or Mount Halla and older English sources refer to the peak as Mount Auckland.
Hallasan is a massive shield volcano which forms the bulk of Jeju Island and is often taken as representing the island itself. There is a local saying stating that "Jeju Island is Hallasan; and Hallasan is Jeju." The mountain can indeed be seen from all places on the island, but its peak is often covered in clouds. The mountain has been designated Korea's Natural Monument no. 182.
The volcanic island was constructed starting in the Pliocene epoch atop the continental shelf, which is presently about 100 m (300 ft) below sea level in that area. Eruptions of basalt and trachyte lava built the island above sea level, and it now reaches a height of 1,950 metres (6,398 ft). A large volcanic crater over 400 m (1,300 ft) in diameter tops the volcano. About 360 parasitic cones, or oreum in the Jeju dialect, are found on the volcano's flanks. Most of them are cinder cones and scoria cones, but there are also some lava domes and about 20 tuff rings near the coast and offshore, which were formed by underwater phreatic eruptions. The most recent eruptions occurred on the flanks in 1002 and 1007.
There is a crater lake on Hallasan called Baengnokdam, literally "white deer lake." There is a legend attributing the name of the lake to otherworldly men who descend from heaven to play with white deer. Depending on the season, the circumference of the lake is up to 2 kilometres with a depth up to about 100 meters.
The mountain is home to Gwaneumsa, the oldest Buddhist temple on the island. The temple was originally built during the Goryeo Dynasty. Like many other temples in Korea, Gwaneumsa was destroyed and rebuilt in the 20th century. There is a memorial site outside the temple, remembering the victims of the Jeju uprising that took place between 1948 and 1950. It is one of the most visited places of the island.
Mt. Hallasan National Park
Hallasan is located in the central part of the island. Since 1966, any area 800 meters above sea level as been designated as a nature reserve. The park is mostly unspoiled nature with hiking paths and park managerial facilities being the only man-made modifications in the area. The flora at the Mt. Hallasan National Park is unique. 1,565 vascular plant species have been recorded in the area thus far and is the most number of plants in any mountain, 33 which are endemic to the island. Unlike most other Korean mountain environments, Hallsan has a unique vertical distribution of plants in three different zones: the subtropic, temperate, and frigid zones.
Over 17 mammals, 198 types of birds, 8 types of amphibians, 8 types of reptiles, and 947 insect species have been catalogued in the nature reserve. Endangered species include the Capreolus capreolus pygargus and Felis bengalensis manchuria. Since the island was last connected to the Korean Peninsula 10,000 years ago, animals endemic to the island appeared at that time and this separation from the mainland is also of biological significance.
A famous part of the Mt. Hallasan Nature Reserve is the Pillemot Cave, a site dating to the Paleolithic period. The caves are significant because of the archaeological remains found there. Archaeological evidence from the cave suggests that people have occupied the island since the Paleolithic period.



Post a Comment