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Waterfall Formation: Cheogwipo Falls, Jeju Island, South Korea

Cheogwipo Falls are 22 metres high and 12 metres across. The plunge pool beneath the falls is 20 metres deep. It is surrounded by evergreen subtropical forest and according to local legend a dragon lived in the pool. Local people would pray for rain at the waterfall in times of famine. It is said their prayers were always answered.

Going beyond dragons and folklore, some amazing forces were certainly at work here over many years of geological time. The overhanging layer of rock strata consists of hard igneous rock with tuff, a soft rock of volcanic ash being the layer underneath. The force of the waterfall pounding the rock below in a process called hydraulic action. This, coupled with turbulence and abrasion helped to carve out a deep plunge pool. As the softer tuff got eroded underneath the igneous sill, the unsupported harder igneous rock collapsed and this process repeated upstream forming the gorge close to Seogwipo leading to Cheogwipo Falls.



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