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UNESCO Global Geopark

In the late Cretaceous Period of the Mesozoic Era (87 million years ago), when a volcano of Mudeungsan Mountain was exploded, the extrusive volcanic ashes and pyroclastics were spread out by water, wind, and gravity. With time, the volcanic ashes were accumulated and hardened to create volcanic stones (tuff) that were cooled and contracted for repeated times to develop pentagonal or hexagonal columnar joints. Living things of the mountain had been fossilized with the process of sedimentation, and columnar joints created the beautiful and mysterious sceneries of Mudeungsan Mountain.

The Mudeungsan area, known for picturesque sceneries and history of the Mother Nature’s long period of time, was certificated as a National Geopark in 2014 and UNESCO Global Geopark in April 2018. Loved by people around the world, the mountain continues adding a new page to its history.

Mudeungsan UNESCO Global Geopark logo

  • Location

    Gwangju City,
    Hwasun County,
    Damyang County

  • Area


  • Geosites


  • Preliminary Geosites


  • Historical Cultural Sites


Characteristics of Mudeungsan Geopark

  • The geopark is located in the south-western part of Korea peninsula. This area is included in the geopark which is focused on Mt. Mudeungsan which rises about 1,100 m above the lowlands. The mountains and individual features have deep symbolic values for the local people and for wider Korea. It has many scenic features based on the geology and topography of the largely volcanic mountain. It protects a number of endangered and vulnerable plant and animal species.
  • The geopark is managed by Gwangju City and two countries of Jeollanam Province. The total population is more than 1.6 million.
  • Local communities and NGOs are deeply involved with the management and interpretation of the geopark. And in and around the geopark, there are many geovillages, geopartners and cultural heritages closely connected to Mt. Mudeungsan.

Geological significance of Mudeungsan geopark

  • The colonnades in Mudeungsan Geopark were have formed during at least three rounds of volcanic eruption between about 87 million and 85 million years ago in the Cretaceous Period. The total area of colonnades which have been discovered so far is at least 11 km2. The size of single joint faces is the largest in the world, up to 7 meters.
  • The Seoyu-ri Dinosaur fossil site is one of the five places of South Korean Cretaceous Dinosaur Coast (KCDC) and is on the Tentative List for UNESCO World Natural Heritage. This fossil site is unique in having high-density carnivorous dinosaur footprints and tracks within the comparatively small area. The total number of footprint fossils is about 1,500 and that of tracks is about 70 . These footprints and trackways provide valuable data on the dinosaurs’ movement and ecology in the Cretaceous Period.
  • The Hwasun Dolmen Welded Tuff is a geologically and historically important place where dolmens were built using the rocks fallen off by tuff weathering or from quarries. There are as many as five quarries in this place, where the dolmen cover stones were taken from tuff outcrops of Cretaceous welded Tuff. The Hwasun Dolmen Site has as many as 600 dolmens of the southern type, the major tomb style in the Bronze Age. Its dolmen sizes and density are globally comparable. In addition, a complete polished stone dagger was recently discovered along with many diverse relics during archeological excavations. For such significance, the place is designated as Historic Site No. 410 domestically as well as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage internationally.