Gyeongju Columnar Joints #경주 #주상절리
#1 What are columnar joints?
Columnar joints are a geologic formation that can occur after a volcanic eruption, when lava hotter than 1000℃ boils out from the magma and quickly cools. This cooling is fastest in the lowest and highest sections, which are in direct contact with the relatively cold surface of the earth and the cold air, respectively. When the magma rapidly cools, the sudden contraction causes pentagonal or hexagonal fractures (joints) to form on the surface, similar to the cracks that appear in the surface of a rice paddy during a drought. When the fractures that result from such cooling and contraction become elongated and develop in a vertical direction, they take the form of columns. In English, these are called columnar joints, and in Korean, jusangjeolli (柱狀節理).
#2 Yangnam’s columnar joint formations
Yangnam-myeon’s coastal area is blessed with lovely scenery and the natural geological wonder of columnar joints, sculpted by nature. You can witness diverse types of formations grouped and clustered along 1.7km of shoreline. See lines of elaborate stone columns over 10 meters high, evoking the columns of ancient Greek temples; horizontal columnar joints that resemble stacks of timber; and other mysterious formations resembling the crater lake atop Mt. Baekdu, a woman’s pleated skirt, an open fan, and flower buds. This unique world natural heritage is a veritable geological museum.
#3 Padosori-gil coastal trail, a hiking course for viewing columnar joints
Padosori-gil (“padosori” means “sound of the surf,” and “gil” means road or trail) is a coastal trail covering the entire 1.7km stretch of shoreline that features columnar joints. Different sections reflect themes highlighting the coastal environment, like Mongdol-gil (pebble path), Yasaenghwa-gil (wildflower path), Deungdae-gil (lighthouse path), and Deck-gil (self-explanatory!). The lighthouse section is particularly popular, featuring a swinging bridge you can stroll across while enjoying the beautiful scenery of ocean waves, lighthouses, and columnar joints. This is a hot new attraction of Padosori-gil.
With outdoor landscape lighting installed throughout the trail, and floodlights illuminating three of the most outstanding views, visitors can enjoy a stroll during the summer and even at night. A four-kilometer trail reflecting a fishing village theme connects with the visually striking village of Eupcheon, called ‘Eupcheon-hang Gallery’ because of its 2.3km of outdoor murals.