, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 765–782 | Cite as

Geoheritage Values of the Quaternary Hantangang River Volcanic Field in the Central Korean Peninsula

  • Youngwoo Kil
  • Kun Sang Ahn
  • Kyung Sik Woo
  • Kwang Choon Lee
  • Yong-Joo Jwa
  • Woochul Jung
  • Young Kwan SohnEmail author
Original Article


The Quaternary Hantangang River Volcanic Field (HRVF) in the central part of the Korean Peninsula hosts unique volcanic landforms associated with fluvial topography. The volcanic field consists of a series of basaltic lava flows, ca. 0.1 to 0.6 Ma old, which originated from two source vents in DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; North Korea) and flowed along a 110 km long stretch of paleo-river channels to the terminus in the northern part of ROK (Republic of Korea; South Korea). Afterwards, the lavas were eroded by the re-established river system, producing an array of precipitous exposures of columnar-jointed lavas along the channel walls, a number of waterfalls, and other fluvial landforms. The Hantangang River National Geopark was established in 2015 based on the volcanic geoheritage values of the region. Eighteen geosites in the geopark show high geodiversity and can be divided into five major groups of geotopes, including (1) volcanic landforms, (2) fluvial landforms, (3) pre-Quaternary basement rocks, (4) Quaternary deposits associated with archeological ruins, and (5) warm spring. Several geosites are related to ecological, cultural, and historical features. Here, we provide field-based documentations of the geoheritage values of these geotopes, regarding (1) the processes of terrestrial lava flows along a river valley, (2) landform evolution through the interplay between lava flows and fluvial erosion, and (3) the relationship between geological processes and ecological, historical, cultural, and archeological values. The geoheritage values of the Quaternary HRVF may justify for a UNESCO Global Geopark status in the future.


Volcanic geoheritage Lava flow Flood basalt Fluvial topography Hantangang River Volcanic Field 



This research was supported by the application preparation project of the Hantangang National Geopark of Korea for UNESCO Global Geopark which was funded by the Gyeonggi-do Provincial Government. All the local government people of Cheorwon-gun, Pocheon-si, and Yeoncheon-gun are appreciated for their enthusiastic efforts during the project. The authors are grateful to Mr. J. H. Choi and L. Kim at the Natural Heritage Institute of Korea for his contribution to fieldwork. Miss S. O. Ju kindly revised some figures and photos. K. Németh provided a number of helpful comments to improve the manuscript.


  1. Ahn KS (2014) Distribution and petrology of the columnar joint in South Korea. J Petrol Soc Korea 23:45–59Google Scholar
  2. Bae K (1989) The development of the Hantan River basin, Korea and the age of the sediment on the top of the Chongok basalt. Korean J Quat Res 3:87–101Google Scholar
  3. Bae K (1993) Pleistocene environment and palaeolithic stone industries of the Korean peninsula. In: Aikens CM, Rhee SN (eds) Pacific Northeast Asia in prehistory. Washington State University Press, Pullman, pp 13–22Google Scholar
  4. Bae K, Bae CJ, Kim K (2012) The age of the Paleolithic hand axes from the Imjingang Hantangang River basins, South Korea. Quat Internat 281:14–25Google Scholar
  5. Balogh K, Németh K (2005) Evidence for the Neogene small-volume intracontinental volcanism in Western Hungary: K/Ar geochronology of the Tihany maar volcanic complex. Geol Carpath 56(1):91–99Google Scholar
  6. Bitschene PR (2015) Edutainment with basalt and volcanoes—the Rockeskyller Kopf example in the Westeifel volcanic field/Vulkaneifel European Geopark, Germany. Z Dtsch Ges Geowiss 166(2):187–193Google Scholar
  7. Brenna M, Cronin SJ, Smith IEM, Sohn YK, Maas R (2012) Spatio-temporal evolution of a dispersed magmatic system and its implications for volcano growth, Jeju Island volcanic field, Korea. Lithos 148:337–352Google Scholar
  8. Brenna M, Price R, Cronin SJ, Smith IEM, Sohn YK, Kim GB, Maas R (2014) Final magma storage depth modulation of explosivity and trachyte-phonolite genesis at an intraplate volcano: a case study from Ulleung Island, South Korea. J Petrol 55(4):709–747Google Scholar
  9. Brenna M, Cronin SJ, Kereszturi G, Sohn YK, Smith IEM, Wijbrans J (2015) Intraplate volcanism influenced by distal subduction tectonics at Jeju Island, Republic of Korea. Bull Volcanol 77:7Google Scholar
  10. Brilha J (2016) Inventory and quantitative assessment of geosites and geodiversity sites: a review. Geoheritage 8:119–134Google Scholar
  11. Cheong AC-S, Sohn YK, Jeong Y-J, Joa HJ, Park K-H, Lee YS, Li X-H (2017) Latest Pleistocene crustal cannibalization at Baekdusan (Changbaishan) as traced by oxygen isotopes of zircon from the millennium eruption. Lithos 284-285:132–137Google Scholar
  12. Choi MC (1982) Report of the third excavation in Cheon-kok Palaeolithic site. J Liberal Art, Kon-Kuk Univ 14:207–238Google Scholar
  13. Choi SJ, Lee SR, Kim KB, Kim JR, Kim BC (1998) Geological report of the Munsan sheet (scale 1:50,000). KIGAM, DajeonGoogle Scholar
  14. Choi SJ, Chwae U, Lee HK, Song Y, Kang IM (2012) Review on the Chugaryeong fault. Econ Environ Geol 45:441–446Google Scholar
  15. Choi HO, Choi SH, Yu Y (2014) Isotope geochemistry of Jeongok basalts, northernmost South Korea: implications for the enriched mantle end-member component. J Asian Earth Sci 91:56–68Google Scholar
  16. Chough SK, Sohn YK (2010) Tectonic and sedimentary evolution of a cretaceous continental arc-backarc system in the Korean peninsula: new view. Earth-Sci Rev 101:225–249Google Scholar
  17. Chung D, Park C, Kang IM, Choi SJ, Khulganakhuu C (2014) Reactivated timings of some major faults in the Chugaryeong fault zone since the cretaceous period. Econ Environ Geol 47:29–38Google Scholar
  18. Chwae U, Choi SJ, Park KW, Kim KB (1996) Geological report of the Cheolwon-Majeonri sheet (scale 1:50,000). KIGAM, DaejeonGoogle Scholar
  19. Cumings B (2011) The Korean war: a history. Modern Library, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Danhara T, Bae K, Okada T, Matsufuji K, Hwang S (2002) What is the real age of the Chongokni Paleolithic site? In: Bae K, Lee J (eds) Paleolithic archaeology in Northeast Asia. Yeoncheon County and The Institute of Cultural Properties, Seoul and Yeoncheon County, pp 77–116Google Scholar
  21. Erfurt-Cooper P, Cooper M (2010) Volcano and geothermal tourism: sustainable geo-resources for leisure and recreation. Earthscan, Oxon 378 ppGoogle Scholar
  22. Harangi S (2014) Volcanic heritage of the Carpathian–Pannonian region in eastern-Central Europe. In: Erfurt-Cooper P (ed) Volcanic tourist destinations, Geoheritage. Geoparks and Geotourism. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 103–123Google Scholar
  23. Hwang JH, Kihm YH (2007) Geological report of the Jipori sheet (scale 1:50,000). KIGAM, DaejeonGoogle Scholar
  24. Hwang SK, Kim JH (2009) Topographical landscapes and their controlling geological factors in the Juwangsan National Park: welding facies and columnar joints. J Petrol Soc Korea 18:195–209Google Scholar
  25. Irvine TN, Baragar WRA (1971) A guide to the chemical classification of the common volcanic rocks. Can J Earth Sci 8:523–548Google Scholar
  26. Jin K, Kim Y-S (2010) Study on development and value for geotourism of horizontal columnar joints at the Jeongja beach area, Ulsan and Eupchon beach area, Gyeongju. J Geol Soc Korea 46:413–427Google Scholar
  27. Jones JG (1968) Pillow lava and pahoehoe. J Geol 76:485–488Google Scholar
  28. Kee WS, Cho DL, Kim BC, Jin K (2005) Geological report of the Pocheon sheet (scale 1:50,000). KIGAM, DaejeonGoogle Scholar
  29. Kee WS, Lim SB, Kim H, Kim BC, Hwang SK, Song KY, Kihm YH (2008) Geological report of the Yeoncheon sheet (scale 1:50,000). KIGAM, DaejeonGoogle Scholar
  30. Kim J (2001) New K-Ar dating in Korea Basic Science Institute: summary and performance. J Petrol Soc Korea 10:172–178Google Scholar
  31. Kim J (2012) A history of Korea: from “land of the morning calm” to states in conflict. In: Indiana University press. Indiana, BloomingtonGoogle Scholar
  32. Kim KH, Kim OJ, Min KD, Lee YS (1984) Structural, paleomagnetic and petrological studies of the Chugaryeong rift valley. Econ Environ Geol 17:215–230Google Scholar
  33. Kim KH, Nagao K, Jang HS, Sumino H, Chung JI (2002) Nd, Sr and Noble gas isotopic compositions of alkali basaltic rocks and mantle xenoliths in the Baegryongdo. Econ Environ Geol 35:523–532Google Scholar
  34. Kim BC, Hwang JH, Lee YS, Lee GH, Nahm WH (2004) Paleomagnetic and soil chemical studies on the quaternary paleosol around the Hantangang River. Econ Environ Geol 37:325–334Google Scholar
  35. Kim GB, Cronin SJ, Yoon WS, Sohn YK (2014a) Post 19 ka B.P. eruptive history of Ulleung Island, Korea, inferred from an intra-caldera pyroclastic sequence. Bull Volcanol 76:802Google Scholar
  36. Kim J, Choi JH, Jeon SI, Park UJ, Nam SS (2014b) 40Ar-39Ar age determination for the quaternary basaltic rocks in Jeongok area. J Petrol Soc Korea 23:385–391Google Scholar
  37. Kinosaki Y (1937) Quaternary volcanoes in chosen. J Chosen Natural History Soc 22:3–8Google Scholar
  38. Koh J-S, Yun S-H, Hong H-C (2005) Morphology and petrology of Jisagae columnar joint on the Daepodong basalt in Jeju Island, Korea. J Petrol Soc Korea 14(4):212–225Google Scholar
  39. Koh GW, Park JB, Kang B-R, Kim G-P, Moon DC (2013) Volcanism in Jeju Island. J Geol Soc Korea 49:209–230Google Scholar
  40. Koto B (1903) An orographic sketch of Korea. J Coll of Sci Imp Univ Tokyo 19:1–61Google Scholar
  41. Lebas MJ, LeMaitre RW, Streckeisen A, Zanettin B (1986) A chemical classification of volcanic rocks based on the total alkali-silica diagram. J Petrol 27:745–750Google Scholar
  42. Lee D (1995) Earthquake activities and crustal deformation in the Korean Peninsula (I). KIGAM report KR-95(T)-7, Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, DaejeonGoogle Scholar
  43. Lee K, Lee YM (1991) A gravity study of the Chugaryeong rift valley (I). J Geol Soc Korea 27:309–318Google Scholar
  44. Lee DS, Ryu KJ, Kim GH (1983) Geotectonic interpretation of Choogaryong rift valley, Korea. J Geol Soc Korea 19:19–38Google Scholar
  45. Lee YS, Min KD, Hwang JH (2001) The geodynamic evolution of the Chugaryeong Fault Valley in a view point of paleomagnetism. Econ Environ Geol 34:555–571Google Scholar
  46. Lee BJ, Ko HJ, Kee WS, Kim BC, Lee SR, Lee SR (2005) 1:1,000,000 scale digital geologic map of Korean Peninsula. NP 2005–007-2008(3), Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, DaejeonGoogle Scholar
  47. Martí J, Planagumà L (2017) La Garrotxa volcanic field of Northeast Spain: case study of sustainable volcanic landscape management. Springer, Cham, Switzerland 134 ppGoogle Scholar
  48. Moore JG (1975) Mechanism of formation of pillow lava. Am Sci 63:269–277Google Scholar
  49. Moore JG, Phillips RL, Grigg RW, Peterson DW, Swanson DA (1973) Flow of lava into the sea, 1969-1971, Kilauea volcano, Hawaii. Geol Soc Am Bull 84:537–546Google Scholar
  50. Moufti MR, Németh K (2013) The intra-continental Al Madinah volcanic field, Western Saudi Arabia: a proposal to establish Harrat Al Madinah as the first volcanic geopark in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Geoheritage 5:185–206Google Scholar
  51. Moufti MR, Németh K (2016) Geoheritage of volcanic Harrats in Saudi Arabia. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp 194Google Scholar
  52. Nagaoka S, Danhara T, Itaya T, Sakuyama T, Watanabe M, Bae K, Matsufuji K (2008) Stratigraphy and age of quaternary basaltic lavas and reconstruction of paleogeography in Chongokni, Korea. In: Matsufuji K (ed) Loess-paleosol and Paleolithic chronology in East Asia. Yuzankaku, Tokyo, pp 87–102Google Scholar
  53. Németh K, Moufti MR (2017) Geoheritage values of a mature monogenetic volcanic field in intra-continental settings: Harrat Khaybar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Geoheritage 9:311–328Google Scholar
  54. Németh K, Wu J, Sun C, Liu J (2017) Update on the volcanic geoheritage values of the Pliocene to quaternary Arxan–Chaihe volcanic field, Inner Mongolia, China. Geoheritage 9:279–297Google Scholar
  55. Norton CJ, Bae K, Harris JWK, Lee H (2006) Middle Pleistocene hand axes from the Korean peninsula. J Hum Evol 51:527–536Google Scholar
  56. On CI (2010) Korean war 60 battles (Korean edition). Hwang Geumal, SeoulGoogle Scholar
  57. Pan B, SLde S, Xua J, Chen Z, Miggins DP, Wei H (2017) The VEI-7 millennium eruption, Changbaishan-Tianchi volcano, China/DPRK: new field, petrological, and chemical constraints on stratigraphy, volcanology, and magma dynamics. J Volcanol Geotherm Res 343:45–59Google Scholar
  58. Park JM, Park KH (1996) Petrology and petrogenesis of the Cenozoic alkali volcanic rocks in the middle part of Korean peninsula (I): petrography, mineral chemistry and whole rock major element chemistry. J Geol Soc Korea 32:223–249Google Scholar
  59. Park K, Kim Y, Lee I, Park J, Choi M, Lee K, Jeong C, Han J, Lee S, Shin H (1996) A study on trace element composition and structural analyses of geologic and marine samples (II). KBSI report. In: UCPN00016–070-4Google Scholar
  60. Park KH, Park JB, Cheong CS, Oh CH (2005) Sr, Nd and Pb isotopic systematics of the Cenozoic basalts of the Korean peninsula and their implications for the Permo-Triassic continental collision boundary. Gondwana Res 8:529–538Google Scholar
  61. Ree J-H, Cho M, Kwon S-T, Nakamura E (1996) Possible eastward extension of Chinese collision belt in South Korea: the Imjingang belt. Geology 24:1071–1074Google Scholar
  62. Ryu S, Oka M, Yagi K, Sakuyama T, Itaya T (2011) K-Ar ages of the quaternary basalts in the Jeongok area, the central part of Korean Peninsula. Geosci J 15:1–8Google Scholar
  63. Sakuyama T, Nagaoka S, Miyazaki T, Chang Q, Takahashi T, Hirahara Y, Senda R, Itaya T, Kimura J, Ozawa K (2014) Melting of the uppermost metasomatized asthenosphere triggered by fluid fluxing from ancient subducted sediment: constraints from the quaternary basalt lavas at Chugaryeong volcano, Korea. J Petrol 55:499–528Google Scholar
  64. Shin JB, Yu KM, Naruse T, Hayashida A (2004) Study on loess-paleosol stratigraphy of quaternary unconsolidated sediments at E55S20-IV pit of Chongokni Paleolithic site. J Geol Soc Korea 40:369–381Google Scholar
  65. Sohn YK (1995) Geology of Tok Island, Korea: eruptive and depositional processes of a shoaling to emergent island volcano. Bull Volcanol 56(8):660–674Google Scholar
  66. Song KY, Cho DL (2007) Geological report of the Gimhwa sheet (scale 1:50,000). KIGAM, DaejeonGoogle Scholar
  67. Song MY, Shin KS (1998) Satellite image analysis for the geologic structure and land surface environments in the Chugaryung rift valley near Cholwon. J Korean Earth Sci Soc 19:675–683Google Scholar
  68. Sun C, Liu J, You H, Németh K (2017) Tephrostratigraphy of Changbaishan volcano, Northeast China, since the mid-Holocene. Quat Sci Rev 177:104–119Google Scholar
  69. Szepesi J, Harangi S, Ésik Z, Novák TJ, Lukács R, Soós I (2017) Volcanic Geoheritage and Geotourism perspectives in Hungary: a case of an UNESCO world heritage site, Tokaj wine region historic cultural landscape, Hungary. Geoheritage 9:329–349Google Scholar
  70. Wee SM (1996) Geochemical characteristics of the quaternary Jungok basalt in Chooogaryong rift valley, mid-Korean peninsula. Econ Environ Geol 29:171–182Google Scholar
  71. Wee SM (1999) Geochemistry and petrogenesis of Jeungok basalts in mid-Korean peninsula. J Min Petrol Econ Geol 94:222–240Google Scholar
  72. Wei H, Liu G, Gill J (2013) Review of eruptive activity at Tianchi volcano, Changbaishan, Northeast China: implications for possible future eruptions. Bull Volcanol 75:706Google Scholar
  73. Won CK (1983) A study on the quaternary volcanism in the Korean peninsula: in the Choogaryong rift valley. J Geol Soc Korea 19:159–168Google Scholar
  74. Won CK, Lee MW (1988) The study on petrology for the quaternary alkali volcanic rock of the Korean peninsula. J Geol Soc Korea 24:181–193Google Scholar
  75. Won CK, Kim YK, Lee MW (1990) The study on the geochemistry of Choogaryong alkali basalt. J Geol Soc Korea 26:70–81Google Scholar
  76. Won CK, Lee MW, Jin MS, Choi MJ, Jeong BH (2015) Geological survey in the Hantangang River. Jisungsa, SeoulGoogle Scholar
  77. Woo HD, Park JS, Oh HS, Jang YD (2013a) Forming processes and the value of the natural heritage of the Guksubawi in Ulleung Island, Korea. J Petrol Soc Korea 22:9–17Google Scholar
  78. Woo KS, Sohn YK, Ahn US, Yoon SH (2013b) Jeju Island Geopark—a volcanic wonder of Korea. Springer, Berlin 90 ppGoogle Scholar
  79. Woo KS, Ju SO, Sohn YK (submitted) International geoheritage values of the Hantangang Geopark: qualitative assessment by comparative analysis, Springer Geoheritage series. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  80. Yang KS (1982) A study on volcanic rocks of downstream area of the Hantangang River in Choogaryong rift valley. J Korean Earth Sci Soc 16:65–73Google Scholar
  81. Yi SB (1984) Geoarcheological observations of Chon’gok-ri, Korea. Korea Journal 24(9):4–10Google Scholar
  82. Yoo Y (2014) Narrating Palaeolithic human settlement history: the case of the Imjingang-Hantangang River area, Korea. Int J Korean History 19:67–100Google Scholar
  83. Yun HS (1995) Occurrence and petrochemistry of the granites in the Pocheon-Euijeongbu area. J Petrol Soc Korea 4:91–103Google Scholar
  84. Yun HS, Hong SS, Kim J (2006) Petrochemistry of the pink hornblende biotite granite in the Galmal-Yeongbug area of the north Gyeonggi. J Petrol Soc Korea 15:167–179Google Scholar
  85. Zouros N (2004) The European Geoparks network. Episodes 27(3):165–171Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The European Association for Conservation of the Geological Heritage 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Energy and Resources EngineeringChonnam National UniversityGwangjuRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Earth ScienceChosun UniversityGwangjuRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of GeologyKangwon National UniversityChuncheonRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of New Energy and Resource EngineeringSangji UniversityWonjuRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Department of Geology and Research Institute of Natural ScienceGyeongsang National UniversityJinjuRepublic of Korea

Personalised recommendations